Updated: Mar 27
Took 2 minutes to put together but this short activity was full of meaningful maths...
I put some sweets in a jar and the children had to estimate how many were in. The hook was that whoever was closest got to pick their sweets for our Saturday night movie. For Harry, he asked what 'estimate' meant and initially guessed 100 so had a bit of guidance about how to make a sensible estimate. For Isla, I decided to use 2 jars and they had a guess at each and then had to add their two estimates together (this brought in some practice of 2 digit addition with Tens and Units which I'll extend to 3 digit addition of Hundreds, Tens and Units when I think about what goes in the jars in future). It was really lovely that Isla explained to Harry how to add his two estimates together and you can see his '11' and '20' where she was talking him through adding the ones and then adding the tens and then adding them both together.
It was lovely that their dad made an estimate too and then he counted each jar with them. I watched as they counted them in 2s and then put them into groups of ten - this was Adam (Dad) modelling to them how he would count and them all doing it together.
It turned out their dad won this time, much to their annoyance, but seeing how many sweets he chose for the movie has really motivated them for next time!
Why is this important? Estimation is a key skill in primary maths. The curriculum expects children to be able to make sensible estimates and to use this when solving calculations. They are expected to estimate to support their understanding of rounding numbers to the nearest ten and to estimate when learning formal calculation methods. This sort of fun, relaxed activity prepares younger children (like Harry) for this learning and it can consolidate the learning for older children too.