Activity:

Tip the Scales for Estimation

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What You Need:

  • Bathroom scale
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Family members

What You Do:

  1. Have your child record the weight of several willing family members. Have a scale available, if needed. These family members can include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt and uncles, cousins and pets.
  2. Ask your child to add up the weights of all the participants to find the total number of pounds the group weighs.
  3. Using estimation, have your child check to see if his calculated results are reasonable. Suggest to your child that he first estimate the weight of each individual to the nearest ten pounds or five pounds. This is especially important if the individual is a pet. Sometimes it’s hard for kids to estimate the weight of adults. If your child’s estimation is not reasonable, suggest a more reasonable number. Then ask him to add all of the estimated numbers together.
  4. Have your child compare his estimation to his calculation. Discuss the use of estimation to verify, or check, calculations. Give examples of how this tool can be helpful in real world situations. If you'd like to extend the activity, start thinking about multiplication and division. How many cats would weigh the same a grandpa? How many baby sisters would weigh the same as Dad? Having fun with the math, and with your family, too!

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