Estimation Lesson Plan
Make learning how to estimate fun by using Shodor's computer applets.
This lesson combines the use of four different computer estimation applets with
several classroom estimation activities.
Standards (NCTM Grades 3-5)
Number and Operation
Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements
- Develop and use strategies to estimate the results of whole-number
computations and to judge the reasonableness of such results
- Develop strategies for estimating the perimeters, areas, and volumes
of irregular shapes
Have several different shapes taped off throughout the classroom
Students will need:
Students must be able to:
- perform basic mouse manipulations such as point,
click and drag
- use a browser such as Netscape for experimenting with
- access to a browser.
- paper and pencil.
- Focus and Review
Students learn what estimation is and refine their estimation skills through
several estimation activities.
- Review any pertinent vocabulary.
- Have the students guess how many jelly beans are in a
- After the students have had a chance to write down their guess, have them raise
their hands, so that you can call on a few students to explain the method they
used to formulate their guess.
- The teacher should know the correct answers and hone in on those
students giving the correct answers.
- Expand on students' methods and explain that these are forms
- Guided Practice
- Have some pre-drawn or pre-taped shapes located around the room.
- Have the students estimate the area of each shape in square ft and in
This part is optional:
- Have the students calculate their percent error.
- Examine the percent error calculations as a class.
- Discuss which estimation methods had the lowest percent error and why.
- Have the students open the More or Less Estimator applet
- Work through a few problems as a class, so that students can become familiar with
- Independent Practice
- Have the students take turns using the More or Less Estimator applet with a
partner for about five minutes.
- Once the students have had time to become proficient with the More or Less
Estimator applet have them work with the Comparison Estimator applet
for about five minutes.
- Next have the students work with the Estimator applet
for five minutes.
- Finally have the class spend five minutes playing Estimator Four applet.
- To ensure the students are on task you can circulate through the room
monitoring their progress.
- You may also want to have the students copy a problem from each applet
that they found challenging.
Extensions and Modifications
- Address any remaining questions the students have about the different estimating
- Review with the students the various methods used when estimating.
- Because each of the estimation applets addresses a different type of estimation
you may want to pause as a class to discuss the most successful estimation
methods used with each applet.
- The difficulty level of these applets can also be easily adjusted by changing
the difficulty setting.