Master Math with a Rounding Race

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What You Need:

  • 6–7 sheets of paper or 3" x 5" note cards
  • Scissors
  • 2 black markers

What You Do:

  1. Cut the paper into approximately 50 cards, or use 25 3" x 5" note cards, cut in half.
  2. On each card, write dollar amounts in black marker. Use amounts from a penny, all the way up to $999.99. For example:
    • $38.14
    • $750.77
    • $10.75
  3. Briefly review the process of rounding to the nearest dollar. Show your child how $38.14 rounds to $38.00. Here's how: the “ones” place comes just before the decimal, circle it (the 8) and look at the number to its right – 1 – which is less than 5. Therefore, the 8 stays the same and the 1 gets knocked down to 0. You have successfully rounded to $38.00. Have your child practice rounding with a few cards.
  4. Now, it’s time to play! Have your fourth-grader challenge a sibling or friend. Both players sit next to each other facing you. Lay down a dollar card in front of the players. The first player to correctly round the number to the nearest dollar wins the card. Set a timer and play for 3 minutes. The player with the most cards at the end of 3 minutes wins the round. The winner of the game is the player with the best 3 out of 5 rounds.
  5. If no one is available to “race” your child, challenge her to play against the clock. Set the timer for 3 minutes. Show her dollar cards one at a time and have her call out the rounded amount. See how many cards she can get in 3 minutes.
  6. Challenge her to beat her record and reduce her time to 2 minutes, then 1 minute.

It’s always more fun if you supply “prizes” for the winner (and a consolation prize for the runner-up). But whatever way you crack it, this game will give kids another reward—the ability to approach rounding without fear.

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