Last Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Estimating and rounding – first level

What is this?

Below you will find some ideas to support you to design an activity on estimation which you can use or adapt for learners in your class while they are working remotely. This learning activity is based on first level experiences and outcomes.

When designing learning activities, think about the range of learners in your class and their individual circumstances.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: First level

  • I can share ideas with others to develop ways of estimating the answer to a calculation or problem, work out the actual answer, then check my solution by comparing it with the estimate. MNU 1-01a

Purpose of the activity

At early level, learners should have developed skills in recognising the number of objects in a group, without counting (subitising). They should have used this to estimate the number of objects in groups and checked their estimates by counting. They should have used relevant vocabulary, including less than, more than and the same as.

This activity builds on this learning and focuses on using estimation and rounding to answer calculations.

Learning activities

Using whichever method you use to share home learning activities with the children in your class, consider the following:

  • Encourage children to think about times when estimating a number is used. For example, newspaper headlines with approximate numbers attending events or recipes asking for ‘about a handful’. Encourage children to think about times they would ‘guess’ a quantity or amount rather than count the exact amount.
  • Set a task for the children to explore and check estimates. Ask them to get a handful of pasta, paperclips, buttons, building blocks or other small items. Ask them to look and guess the number of items. Encourage them to record their guess and then check by counting. Ask the children to explore this using larger items and smaller items. Each time they should record their guess and then check it. Encourage them to look at their notes – are their guesses getting closer to the actual amount?
  • You may want to provide a short input, either written or via an online tool, to help learners understand that rounding is a type of estimating that can help us to find approximate answers to calculations. You may want to use video clips or interactive online games to help children explore this using number lines.
  • Set a task for the children to round 2-digit numbers to the nearest ten. They could roll a dice, make 0-9 number cards or use cards from a deck of playing cards to generate 2-digit numbers. Some children may be ready to move onto 3-digit numbers.
  • Finally, encourage the children to use rounding to estimate answers to calculations. They can use their method of generating 2-digit numbers to create two numbers, round each number to the nearest ten and add them together. This could be extended for children by asking them to create three 2-digit numbers to round then add.

National Benchmarks

Depending on a child’s individual stage of development and their prior learning, children will be working towards these benchmarks, by the end of first level.

  • Uses strategies to estimate an answer to a calculation or problem, for example, doubling and rounding.
  • Rounds whole numbers to the nearest 10 and 100 and uses this routinely to estimate and check the reasonableness of a solution.

Possible approach to assessing learning

Receiving examples of learning at home from children will help you understand how they are managing the tasks you have set and provide some feedback. Using whichever approaches your school uses to communicate with parents, some of the following may be useful in supporting you to assess and celebrate children’s progress:

  • Some children may want to upload photos or a record of their work to their online learning journal, or online learning space on Google classroom or Microsoft Teams. This will give you the opportunity to provide feedback and next steps.
  • Reflective question: When is rounding a useful strategy in everyday life?
Resource subject Numeracy and mathematics
Resource type Learning activity
Resource format Webpage