Fun Friday – Counting and Estimating

Stuck at home, we’ve been self-isolating for 2 weeks now and, yes, we are entertaining ourselves with a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. We were a bit frustrated with our progress or lack thereof. So, we started to estimate how we were going. We estimate that a third of the jigsaw is plain blue sky, that’s about 333 pieces – ugh, exactly the same colour! We think we’ve joined about a quarter so far so that’s another 750 pieces to go. We know the perimeter is 40 pieces across and 25 pieces down, so that’s

40 + 40 + 25 + 25 – 4 (because the corners are counted twice) = 126 pieces.

That set us thinking about how much fun estimating and counting can be. So, for today, we thought that there must be plenty of opportunities at home for estimating and strategic counting. Strategic counting means being organised, so the objects are easy to count in 1s, 2s, 5s or 10s without forgetting which have been counted and which haven’t. Place value is built on understanding of magnitude so take this opportunity to work with large collections. Make games where, for example, a heap of LEGO blocks are put into a carrier bag. No peaking, the bag can be hefted to see how heavy it is or rattled to see how full it is before an estimate is made and then checked by counting. Obviously, the person with the closest estimate after counting is the winner.

There must be lots of stuff around the house to sort and count. Model efficient strategies for counting at the level your child is ready for.

Need ideas? We wrote a blog about a book where the character Hugo likes to count . You could share the pages on the blog as a stimulus or go to YouTube and watch Counting on Frank by Rod Clements being read. There are so many ideas in that book that you could be busy estimating and counting for quite a while.