Really? You can estimate in Algebra? I never thought about how important estimating is until I visited Estimation 180’s website.

http://www.estimation180.com

It’s so important because when you go to the store, you estimate how much it’ll cost for 10 pieces of gum when the gum varies in price.

You estimate the length of carpet you need to buy to replace the piece your dog tore up.

Estimation is key and I’ve never used it in Algebra. Why not? It’s state-tested, there can’t be time! No way that any algebra concepts could be estimated.

Wrong. What I’m excited to try in my classroom now that we have moved onto coordinate planes, points and linear equations, is the use of “no number coordinate planes”.

Why shouldn’t students be able to estimate a point given only one number on each axis? I also think that students may feel comfortable entering the topic given that they’re not expected to have the correct answer. Additionally, there’s mystery to the activity creating engagment.

How about estimating slope? To estimate slope, students could understand from the placement of the line that it is positive and if it’s not steep it must closer to zero.

The whole time they’ll be developing the skill of estimation and conceptual knowledge of points/slope/linear equations.

I also love that this will require students to think outside the bounds of whole numbers. If the glass isn’t full and it’s not empty, it must be some point between the two. The students can think more in decimals and fractions to build foundational skills that are often lacking.

My first step is going to start with basic estimation examples and then more them more into content or unit specific. Regardless, skills are being developed and are a great tool for students to interact with mathematical and logic skills.

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Sarah D

said:I love that you specifically talk about connecting estimation and Algebra I. I’m guilty of not doing this enough myself. But, like you said, using it for slope and the coordinate plane is good practice.

unmuddlemath

said:Excellent idea!! And you brought up a very valid point that students may be more inclined to participate if they know they are not expected to have the correct answer. Best of luck as you implement your new teacher approach!

jnewman85

said:I agree that estimation is an essential skill, and Estimation180 is a great resource for math teachers: I need to remember to use it more often!

Here’s a cool NPR article that talks about estimation and how helpful it can be: http://goo.gl/6XU2rC. I showed my students this article, especially the paragraph that says “The better you are at number sensing, Harvey says, the better you tend to do on standardized mathematical tests.” I then asked my students if they wanted to practice estimating every day, and they said “Yes!” Now it’s just up to me to make sure I remember to use that as a warm-up each day!