ALEX Lesson Plan

Estimation Station

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Yulanda Hampton
System: Hartselle City
School: FE Burleson Elementary School
The event this resource created for:GEMS
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 24176


Estimation Station


During this lesson students will learn the difference between estimation and guessing. Knowing how to estimate is an essential skill that will help students determine approximate totals as well as check the reasonableness of their answer to a problem. After listening to the book Betcha by Stuart J. Murphy, the students will be given opportunities to practice the strategies that are presented.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Character Education
CE (1995)
Grade: K-12
8 ) Cooperation

Character Education
CE (1995)
Grade: K-12
22 ) Creativity

MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 3
11. Use various strategies to add and subtract fluently within 1000.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.3.10 Using vocalization, sign language, augmentative communication, or assistive technology use concrete materials and pictorial models to model whole numbers.

MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 4
3. Determine and justify solutions for multi-step word problems, including problems where remainders must be interpreted.

a. Write equations to show solutions for multi-step word problems with a letter standing for the unknown quantity.

b. Determine reasonableness of answers for multi-step word problems, using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.4.1 Solve one-step word problems involving real-life situations using the four operations within 100 without regrouping and select the appropriate method of computation when problem solving.

Local/National Standards:

NCTM Number and Operations Standard Grades 3-5 Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates: Develop and use strategies to estimate the results of whole-number computations and to judge the reasonableness of such results. NCTM Data Analysis and Probability Standard Grades 3-5: Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data Describe the shape and important features of a set of data and compare related data sets, with an emphasis on how the data are distributed. Use measures of center, focusing on the median, and understand what each does and does not indicate about the data set. Compare different representations of the same data and evaluate how well each representation shows important aspects of the data.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will practice their estimation skills and will create a line plot from items which they select and bring to class.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will pactipate in activities that will help them to better understand math terms related to data analysis and probability.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Teacher: Betcha by Stuart J. Murphy, white board with markers, transparent plastic half-gallon jar, small items to fill jar (ex: marbles, toy cars, individually wrapped candy, etc.) Students: sticky notes, chart papers and markers

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, LCD projector (if available), interactive whiteboard (if available)


Students should have prior knowledge of a line plot, tally chart, diffent types of graphs, and an understanding of benchmark numbers.

1.)Prior to this lesson, fill a jar with items for students to estimate. (Make sure to count the items before placing them in the jar.)

2.)Give each student two sticky notes. Have them write down an estimate on one of the sticky notes and place it where no-one can see it.

3.)Read the book Betcha by Stuart J. Murphy. Allow students (within small academically diverse groups) to describe what is going on in each picture. During the story periodically ask questions, such as "What would you do to determine how many people are on a bus?" or "How could you estimate the number of cars in a traffic jam?"

4.)Allow small group discussion about strategies that were used in the story to find estimates. Ask students if anyone learned a strategy that could help them to make a more accurate estimate. If so, allow students to use the second sticky note to revise their estimate.

5.)Draw a horizontal axis on the board to place estimates. Ask questions to discover which student has the lowest and highest estimate. Fill in the horizontal axis by placing numbers at appropriate intervals on the line plot. (Example: If the lowest estimate is 18 and the highest estimate is 32, begin your line plot at 15 and label by 5's through 35.)

6.)Have each group of students take turns coming to the board to place their revised sticky note above the horizonal axis at the appropriate place.

7.)Find the range (difference between highest and lowest estimate), median (after placing all of the estimates in numerical orders locate the middle number), mode (the number occuring most frequently), and mean (the average of all estimates.)
(Mean, Median, Mode, & Range - Power Point)
This power point presentation will help students understand math terms related to data analysis.

8.)The teacher will display the exact answer for the class. The student with the closest estimate will be allowed to take the Estimation Jar home and fill it for next week's lesson. (It is a good idea to have the student take the jar home and fill it over the weekend.) Please tell the student to write the answer on a small piece of papar and tape the it inside the lid of the jar. Instruct them to keep the answer a secret until after next week's lesson and they will be allowed to help with the class lesson and reveal the answer. When the jar is returned it is a should be placed in an area that you could refer to as "Estimation Station." Students will be allowed to view (but not touch) the jar for several days before the lesson.

9.)To practice estimation skills, students may participate in the following activity:
(Glowla's Estimation Contraption)
Glowla has created this weird machine which will show you a bunch of numbers. You need to type in an estimate of what those numbers would add up to. (The secret to solving the puzzle is rounding.)

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Assessment Strategies

The graphs students produce will be their assessment. The teacher will use a rubric to assess accuracy, neatness, and cooperation.


1. Students could create a computer generated line plot. 2. Smaller items could be used and a sampling could be taken before the exact answer is given. (Students could count one handful, then check to see how many handfuls are in the jar.)


Students who require remediation may be allowed extra time to participate in computer activities and could work with a peer tutor.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.