Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Easy Estimating

Debbie Funkhouser


-Easy Estimating- introduces children to the fun of estimating and graphing while incorporating the concepts of less, more and equal.


The student associates verbal names, written word names, and standard numerals with the whole numbers less than 1000.

The student understands the relative size of whole numbers between 0 and 1000.

The student provides and justifies estimates for real-world quantities.

The student displays solutions to problems by generating, collecting, organizing, and analyzing data using simple graphs and charts.


-Objects to estimate
-Clear container for objects
-Children's names on a class recording sheet
-Sorting chart with pockets labeled: less, more and equal
-Graph paper
-Crayons or markers
-Hundreds chart


Before the activity, the teacher should:
1. Label a clear container----Estimating Jar-.
2. Collect a variety of objects to estimate. (My children particularly enjoy eatables. We usually do this activity on a Friday but I put the objects in the jar on Monday morning).
3. Use Excel and make a class-recording sheet.
4. Prepare and laminate a sorting chart labeled less, more and equal. (I found a good way to do this is to use poster board and attach small cups to hold the less, more or same strips).
5. Post the hundreds chart for comparing their numbers to see if they are less or more.
6. Prepare a class graph or individual graphs. (We begin by doing our graphing as a class project and graduate to individual ones as the children begin to learn what to do).


Have the students do the following:

1. Write, beside their name, the number of objects they think is in the container.

2. Come together in a group and sort the objects by color, shape, size or any other way the teacher or student feels is appropriate.

3. Count the objects and write the number on a sticky note. Attach it to the sorting chart.

4. Cut the child's name and estimate strip from the class-recording chart.

5. Have the child decide if the estimate is less, more or equal to the actual number of objects and place their strip into the correct pocket on the sorting chart.

6. Create a graph to reflect the data collected on the sorting chart. Start with the -less than- pocket and color one box on the graph for each strip. Continue with the -equal to- and -more than- bars of the graph. (This can be done as a class graph or each individual child may have one).

7. Discuss students' estimates and how they decided on their numbers. Ask if, given their number, there would be enough for each of us to have one or more of the objects. Talk about the purpose of these objects.

8. Eat the objects, if appropriate, that have just been estimated.


1. Teacher observation of children as we complete the class graphs and as we have our discussions.
2. Completed graphs. We usually do the first ones as a class project. As I feel the children understand what we are doing, we graduate to small group and then on to individual graphs.
3. Children's estimating slips. A running record can be kept to see which students continue to do well and which are estimating far too many or too few. The record can also reflect students' ability to correctly identify their numbers and the relative size of these numbers.
4. Checklists to show how well the children are doing on their individual graphs.
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