Sunday, February 2, 2014

Estimating and Counting Routines Part 7

New to my posts on estimating and counting routines?  Check them out.  They are quick and no prep lessons that get at a variety of important number skills and are easily differentiated to meet a variety of needs.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 4.1
Part 5
Part 6

This lesson took place with a group of four first graders.  These are students who need a little more practice grouping into tens and ones and who I wanted to expose to numbers over 100.  I also wanted to review reading and writing three digit numbers with these kids.

Our material of choice this time was plastic bingo chips
I started by placing the bag of bingo chips in the center of the table and asking kids to decide if there were more than 100 or less than 100 chips in the bag.  They all agreed there were more than 100.  I asked them to make an estimate on about how many were in the bag. Despite them all saying there were more than 100, their initial estimates were just under 100 or just over 100.

Then I dumped the bag onto the table, spread the chips out a bit and showed them what 10 bingo chips looks like.  From there, they were allowed to make an adjusted estimate.
Once the bingo chips have been spilled on the table, most of the estimates increase quite a bit.  
I then ask the kids if there is enough for us to each take 20.  They agree.  Then one girl says that she thinks there is enough for us to each take 30.  The other kids agree and we decide to each take 30.  Right away someone says they are going to arrange them into 10 frames so they can tell how many are there without having to recount.  The other kids jump on board with this and fairly quickly we each have 30 bingo chips in front of us.

I take this opportunity to have the students figure out how many bingo chips we have pulled out by counting by 10's.  First graders should be able to fluently count forward and backwards by tens up to 120.  This obviously took us a bit out of that range but good practice anyways.  I also had several different kids start to see if we would always get 150.  I also had them count backwards by tens from 150 as well.

Then students had one last opportunity to adjust their estimates.  One student mentioned that she thought we had taken half of the bingo chips and there were half left.  We had a great discussion about what this meant and how it would help us estimate.

Final estimates
Then the students decided we could each take 10 more

Now we each have 40.  I had one student write 40 on the board and we discussed why we write four zero to mean 40.  
Then one student decided we should each take 20 more. This worked out very well and we only had 8 left over.

One final time we counted by 10's to see how many we had.  This time we started at 60 because we already knew one person had 60.

When we figured out we had 308, I gave each kid a marker and had them go to the board and write the number 308.  As you could predict with first graders, I got several responses.

One students' attempt to write 308
Another students' attempt to write 308.
We rearranged the bingo chips a bit so that we had groups of 100.  Then we made the connection between the symbols for the number and the pieces being arranged in groups of 100, 10's and ones.
We also had a great discussion about how we had 30 groups of 10 on the table and even when we arranged the 30 groups of 10 into 3 groups of 100, we could still see the tens.

How do you work on counting and estimating in your classroom?


  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing so many great ideas and activities. I love how hands on and constructivist they are.

    Eclectic Educating

    1. I am all about the hands-on and constructivist learning!

  2. I love all these posts. Thank you for sharing your expertise.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. We estimate once a week but I always do it whole class. I like your idea better. I think I'll try some small group work this week. As usual, thanks for the awesome post.
    Barbara @
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

    1. I do similar routines with full classes, but there is nothing like getting a small group together. My students grow so much from these experiences.