Got Estimation?

Mission Numero Tres of the #MTBoS (MathTwitterBlogosphere) Challenge is to

examine another math website out there and blog my heart out about it. (For all intents and purposes, let’s ignore the fact that I regrettably ran out of time to complete Mission #2 last week.)

I was sad to see that ThatMathLady.Com did not make the cut in the final list of websites to choose from; however, I found some stellar sites that were included in the list, such as Mr. Andrew Stadel’s Estimation 180!

This is the first problem on the Estimation 180 website involving height.

Estimation 180 provides such a wonderful, free service to teachers: math problems, which could easily be used as a class warm-up each day, that involve estimation! As a math teacher, you know that estimation is a skill that needs to be reinforced every year – and every day! – in order to stick. It is such a necessary skill that our students do not easily retain. Estimation 180 provides students with pictures and questions that requires critical thinking in estimation in order to solve. Then, with the simple input of some information into Google Forms, your students can find out if their estimation was correct or not.

There are approximately 180 estimation questions on this website; enough to cover 180 days of math classes (an entire school year for most!). I think this is a terrific site for students who are being introduced to estimation for the first time, reviewing it for the second time, or practicing it for the third, fourth and fifth times! Hey, you can never have too much estimation practice, right Mr. Stadel?


Mission #1 for MathTwitterBlogosphere

I really enjoyed participating in Sam Shah’s New Blogger’s Initiation last summer; so much so, that I am now participating in a new challenge: the MathTwitterBlogosphere (MTBoS) Exploration!

Before I begin, I feel like I owe my Twitter and Blogging PLN – math folk and education folk – an apology. Months ago I made a personal goal on my blog to continue to reach out to my PLN via my blog and thru Tweets while going back to the classroom. Well, I haven’t done a great job of that. Life took an unexpected turn to Busyville. I’m not going to bring you down with the list of my series of unfortunate events that has kept me away from my computer, but I don’t want my PLN thinking that I just gave up on you after a year of meeting you all!

What could be some fancy word problems for this question?

That is why I am so thankful for Sam Shah (@samjshah)  and his team of amazing MathTwitterBlogosphere groupies who have started another challenge. This challenge will hopefully give me the motivation I need to get back into the blogging realm, despite my hectic new life (which will hopefully slow down after we celebrate my husband’s birthday, I’ve run my marathon in November, and the holidays come and go). All I can say is don’t expect too much out of me…this first challenge was sent out last Sunday. It is now Saturday. I’m writing this blog just under the wire!

This first mission of Team MathTwitterBlogosphere is to respond to a prompt. Easy ‘nough:

What is one of your favorite open-ended/rich problems?

I love this prompt for two reasons. First of all, it reminded me of a great warm-up that I used to do with my students all the time, but have forgotten to use in my classroom this year! Secondly, since I had forgotten it, I have yet to share it with my PLN! Until now…

This is probably the simplest math problem there is, but the students’ answers are usually the most complicated, rich, and unique answers you’ll ever see in a math class. Before asking the question, I give students a number, equation, data table, graph, or geometrical shape. Then, I ask them the question: What is the question?

Pretty simple.

How do you use it in your classroom?

First, you write on the poster (“The Answer is…” and “What is the Question?”) and cut a hole in the middle (mine is 7″ by 10″).

Next, hang the poster up on a white board and write various answers in the middle. Students can answer on sticky notes and place their sticky notes on the board OR use Expo markers and write directly on the board around the poster! This open-ended question is interactive, challenging AND fun!

Sometimes you can give equations that students need to apply to real-world scenarios…
You could create a geometry OR temperature question from this answer!




























Whew! That blog post felt good. What’s next, Mr. Shah? 🙂