Mr. Jones' Room

1st-4th Math Coach Constantly Searching for New Ideas

Estimation of the Week (Part 2), Money, Number of the Day, and our Favorite Movies

Estimation of the Week (Part 2)

It’s a busy Monday at school today. My first order of business was getting our Estimation of the Week settled and it looks a little something like this. 


I show the students what a tile looks like, both by height and width before they guess. I never let them hold the bin or look at it for more than 1 minute. They are asked to give their too high and too low answers, then their actual estimate. We have some moderately close guesses so far, but it’s clear that many students’ Approximate Number System could use some work! I have answers from 60-1000 right now.


My 2nd grade pals have been struggling mightily with coins. When they remember what each coin is worth, they can count relatively well by 5s and 10s (25s is another story). I thought that maybe a visual representation of the coins would help so I used the place value blocks to make a better visual.


I’m hoping this will bridge the gap for some students. Mostly, it just has to do with gaining familiarity and remembering the coin values. I wish there was a better way to help them remember what they are worth but I’m at a loss. Hopefully they will continue to remember a little bit piece-by-piece and we’ll get there soon!

Number of the Day

It became apparent to me rather quickly that my students, while lacking approximate number sense, also are lacking basic number sense. I thought this would be a good way to kickstart that with the 3rd graders. 


I know what you’re thinking, “how did he draw George Washington so accurately?!” My artistry truly is a gift and I appreciate all your compliments on it…I think this format is a great way to get the kids thinking about numbers in new and exciting ways. It incorporates money, place value, and writing which is a plus. I was thinking about turning the number into hours and minutes as well, but I’m taking it one step at a time for now. 

Our Favorite Movies

The 3rd grade teachers have expressed their concerns about their students’ sense of time. There is a great activity called How Many Movies Can You See in One Day? that I adapted for my 3rd graders today. I started off by asking them what their favorite movie was. 


After getting the usual Disney/Pixar movies, I looked up how long they were on IMDB. Then we asked, if we started watching these movies at 8:00 AM, when would they all end. Image

If we watched all 5 movies, with no breaks and no time between movies, it would take us from 8 AM to 3:27 PM. The kids all thought that would be a GREAT use of time, and suggested we do that for their reward once their chain reaches the ground, but I had to be mean and shoot down that idea. 

It’s time for lunch now…Overall, it’s been a good day. Hopefully our money activities will go well this afternoon! 


2 comments on “Estimation of the Week (Part 2), Money, Number of the Day, and our Favorite Movies

  1. What a great variety of activities and representations of numbers! I used to teach GED math, and many of my adult students struggled with a lot of these applied math concepts. So great that you’re introducing them to kids early. You’re setting students up to have a really solid understanding of how numbers work in the world around them. Great job!

  2. matt13jones
    April 7, 2014

    Thanks so much! I think it’s really important for my 2nd/3rd Graders especially to gain that familiarity with how numbers are represented in so many ways! I just started at this school two weeks ago and I see that the 4th graders really don’t have that basic number sense…hopefully this will help get kids more familiar and comfortable with numbers in general.

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