Thursday, November 7, 2013

Estimation Station for After School Fun


How many rocks are in the jar? Challenge your kids with this fun Estimation Station. How close can they get?

I recently set up this Estimation Station to give my 1st graders a fun math challenge after school. It took only a few minutes to set up. I just gathered a few items from around the house and had this math game ready in no time. My daughter loved it and had a great time guessing and checking her answers.

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I found a selection of glass jars and loose parts. Any glass or clear container would work. I filled my jars with rocks, LEGO blocks, and pom poms. These were all items that I had readily available. Use whatever you have. Cotton ball, beads, dried pasta, paper clips, crayons, and bottle caps are some more possibilities for an estimation station. I also wrapped some rubber bands around a wine cork. I got that great idea from No Time For Flashcards and their Estimate-Unwrap-Count challenge.



I then made a simple chart. I had a column for each item with one row for the estimates and one row for the actual amounts. I had everything set up on the table waiting for my first grader to return home from school. For an added challenge, you can have your kids make their own chart.



My first grader took one look at the project and dived right in. She examined the jars and though hard about her estimates. "Rubber bands are skinny, so there must be more of them," was one of her thought processes. She made her guesses with lots of thoughts and reasoning. There was no haphazard guessing going on with this project.

After she made her estimates, she counted the items to check her guesses. I had her divide the items into groups of five before counting to sneak in some skip counting practice. 



We found some surprises. Even though those rubber bands were skinny, there were only nine wrapped around the cork. She was also quite pleased to see that two of her numbers, pom poms and LEGOs, were very close to the actual amount.

In one simple project that took me less than 10 minutes to set up, we practiced estimation, skip counting, and graphs. And, we had a lot of fun together in the process. Not bad for one simple math game!





More fun math games:

Pick Two - A Fun LEGO Math Game

Counting On: The Card Game

Driveway Hundred Chart

For even more fun math games, please follow my Math Pinterest board:





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If you're looking for more math and science activities, you can find 80 hands-on activities in Fizz, Bang, Pop! Playful Science & Math Activities for kids 3 to 8. Click here or on the image below to purchase the e-book. 


1 comment:

  1. I love this idea! However I'm planning on using it as a before school activity because I have school age kids very early in the morning and they don't come back after school. It will be a nice warm up.

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