Sunday, May 19, 2013

Getting Our Brains Around Estimation - and this Bloglovin' deal

Yet another thing I seem to be one of the last to know about- or even understand for that matter, is that Google reader is going away?  But there's this Bloglovin' dealio stepping up to take over.  Or something.  I admit to not really getting it at all.  I'd like to know how this actually affects my blog per se, but since no one seems to be in an all out panic, I just think it has something to do with how you follow blogs.  So I'm putting in this little code thing here to get ready for the shift.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Does anyone really get why measurement is always the end of the year?  Is it because it's fun and we've given up on legitimate teaching at this point?  I really need to do it all year long though- but I'll worry about that this summer.
We're getting a new math series next year, and I decided to give it a try just to get my feet wet.  *sigh* It's pretty traditional worksheety sort of stuff.  So, we got to this place where we supposed to be estimating and measuring items using the inch as a unit of measurement, and how one of our color tiles is about an inch long.  And in the booklet deal it wants them to measure books and crayons and what not- but who really cares about that?  And as far as estimation goes, you can totally see that crayon is only three tiles long before you even lay it down.  This is not estimation.  When you can see the answer right off? No, no, no.  So I asked, "How many tiles tall do you think you are?"
Ummmmm, no kittens.  NO.
Alrighty, so we got our little giant (I could just fit him in my pocket he's so cute!) and had him lay down and we lined up the tiles.  Just 47!  Not anywhere close to one thousand.  So then we had the real giant stand up next to him for a comparison.  "So how many tiles tall do you think Ryan is?"
"ONE HUNDRED!!!!!!!"
Ummmmmmmmmm, dear Lord give me strength, no kittens. NO.
So I laid out ten tiles end to end, and then a strand of twenty.  "Which one looks more like the space between the top of Our little giant and Ryan?  They picked twenty.  So we did some adding of tens and decided our range was between 47 and 67.  I then asked them to think about how tall they thought they were compared to these two boys, and pick a number and circle it on their paper.
The next day, we got that piece of paper out, and I had them line up in order of the number they had chosen,  We had a zig zaggy line, let me tell you!  But it was a good lesson in estimation and how we can make a better estimate with more data.  Our first estimate was only based on our imagination and /or personal perspective.  After we lined up, we could see that some folks had guessed themselves too short, and some had guessed themselves too tall.  So we readjusted our estimates and then went to work lining up tiles with partners.
Here's some of the fun: 

We figured out pretty quickly that it really mattered WHERE we laid down our tiles.  At a certain point, we ended up running into a body barrier. 

So then we problem solved and decided to line up the squares along the lines on the floor close to our partner, but not right on top of them.

Folks on the carpet had a slightly tougher job, but we got it figured out in the end.

We also discovered that our number of tiles was exaggerated when we didn't keep it straight.  This little munchkin ended up three inches taller than he actually was because of this curve.

What did I learn out of all of this?  I really hate that new math book. Boooooring.  And my kids need to be estimating all year long.  And they need to be measuring all year long.  And I need to do everything hands-on lots of extra work for me sort of stuff, humph.

But more importantly, what did the kids learn out of this?  I think most of them really came "to get" what we were talking about when it came to inches.  And they started comparing themselves to other items in the room and being able to make reasonable estimates because they knew their own height.

Now, to completely mess with their minds this coming week by switching gears to centimeters...



  1. Ugh, is it really that bad?! I loathe Investigations so I was hoping this would be better... Now I'm going to go pout.

  2. You might like it, since you don't care for Investigations. I like how Investigations organizes the teacher's manual. I like the dialogue and what not. This is not present in the new manual, so I'm like, yuck. I do like that what wasn't covered in Investigations is present in the new book. I'm glad for a new resource. But, in the end- just as with everything else in teaching- I'm going to have to take both, blend them up, and add some caramel sauce. There's better hands on activities here on blogs than in text books. The publishing companies should wake up and smell the Jambalaya. Sheesh.

    Hey- have you +1'd your family yet?

  3. Love all that estimating - and love those light bulb, problem solving moments:)
    We got a new math series about 7ish years ago. After the second year, the school system decided not to purchase the consumable student book anymore (thankfully).
    So we just don't use the math series at all anymore. (I can't even remember what the series is!) We just use the math SOL's and plan using John Van de Walle and Kathy Richardson. It is so much better!