EL Support Lesson
The Language of Estimation
Students will be able to estimate lengths.
Students will be able to estimate the length of classroom items with grade-level academic vocabulary using sentence frames for support.
- Gather the students together in a comfortable space.
- Explain to the students that you want to purchase a new rug for the classroom reading area. Say, "I'd love to purchase a new rug for our class, but I'm not sure where to start. I don't want to get a rug that is too big or too small. Can you help me solve my problem?"
- Instruct students to think-pair-share solutions to your problem. Provide students with sentence frames to support them as they share their ideas with partners. For example:
- I think you should ____ because ____.
- First you should ____ because ____.
- Clarify that people usually measure things to figure out the length of something.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(8 minutes)
- Ask students to think about what tools are needed to measure something. Allow a few students to share out their ideas. Take out a ruler and explain to the students that the ruler is 12 inches long, or one foot. Elaborate that one foot is equal to 12 inches. Explain to the students that if we don't want to use a ruler to measure the exact length of something, we can estimate instead.
- Explain to the students that we use important words and phrases to explain our estimates to others, and they will learn some of these words on the vocabulary cards.
- Put students in partnerships and pass out copies of the Vocabulary Cards and personal whiteboards and whiteboard markers to each pair. Project your copy of the Vocabulary Cards on the whiteboard.
- Read the definition of estimate on the vocabulary cards and refer to the visual to support student understanding. Provide relevant examples of situations when someone might estimate something (e.g. figuring out how much money items cost at the store, how long it will take to get somewhere, if a couch will fit in a living room, a picture to hang on the wall, etc.) Explain to the students that today they will be using a nonstandard unit of length, a giant sneaker, to estimate the length of the reading area where you want to put the rug.
- Read through the rest of the vocabulary cards. Pause after reading each word and have students complete a think-pair-share, defining each vocabulary word in their own words.
- Assign each partnership one or two vocabulary words. Ask students to come up with a sentence and record it on their personal whiteboard.
- Jot down student sentences on the whiteboard and clarify any misconception of tricky words like about and close, and provide example sentences for students.
Guided Practice(5 minutes)
- Project the Estimate with a Giant Sneaker worksheet on the whiteboard and pass out the pre-cut giant sneakers to each partnership.
- Hold up a giant sneaker and say, "I'm going to estimate the length of the reading area using this giant sneaker. First, I notice that the giant sneaker is almost the size of a ruler." Hold up the sneaker next to the ruler to show students what you mean.
- Model figuring out the length of the reading area by referencing your giant sneaker. For example, place the sneaker on the ground to figure out the length of the reading area. Say, "I'm going to place this sneaker here, right against the wall (bookshelf, chair, etc). Next, I'm going to put my finger down at the end of the sneaker. I will keep my finger on the ground and move the sneaker to the other side of my finger. I want to make sure the sneakers are side to side, not overlapped. This will make my estimate more accurate, or close to the real measurement. I can continue placing the sneakers side by side until I feel comfortable making an estimation."
- Continue this process until you are about half way across the reading area. Count the number of sneakers aloud, pointing and saying each number aloud to the students. Make an estimation of the reading area by saying, "I think the length of the reading area is about ____ sneakers. I know the sneakers are almost the same size as a ruler, so I think the reading area is about ____ feet."
Group work time(10 minutes)
- Write the following statements on the whiteboard:
- The length of a desk is closer to 10 sneakers than one sneaker.
- The length of the door is about one sneaker, not 10 sneakers.
- Ask for a student to share the definitions of the vocabulary words in each statement (closer and about). Clarify any misconceptions and reiterate the meaning of both words by referencing the Vocabulary Cards worksheet.
- Instruct students to record the two statements in their math journals. Explain to the students that you came up with these estimations, but you need help figuring out if they are correct or incorrect.
- Have students work in partnerships to estimate the length of the desk and the door, referring to their sneakers to figure out their answers. Tell students to record their answers in their math journals, using pictures, words, phrases, and sentences. Provide sentence frames to support students as they record their answers, such as:
- I agree/disagree that the length of a desk is closer to 10 sneakers because ____. I think the length of a desk is closer to ____ sneakers because ____.
- I agree/disagree that the length of the door is about one sneaker because ____. I think the length of the door is closer to ____ sneakers because ____.
- Rotate around the classroom as students are solving the problems and guide students as needed.
Additional EL adaptations
- Provide students with a word bank of words in English and their home language (L1) to support them as they finish the sentence frames during the introduction activity.
- Provide students with a Glossary and instruct them to draw their own visual in the blank column to support retention of the new vocabulary words from the lesson.
- Have students work with peers who speak the same home language (L1) during group work or with a small, teacher-led group.
- Encourage students to respond to questions without using sentence stems/frames for support.
- Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
- Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
- Put students in mixed ability partnerships so they can offer explanations and provide feedback to beginning ELs when appropriate.
- Gather students back together and pair up sets of partnerships (students will now be working in small groups of four).
- Encourage each partnership to share their findings with the other partnership. Project the Inquiry Math Discussion Cards on the whiteboard to support student discussions. Read through the questions/linking comments and provide examples to clarify the process for students.
- Provide time for students to draft improved responses in their math journals based on the other partnership's feedback. Students may use pictures, words, and phrases in their responses.
- Ask a partnership to share out their findings with the class and clarify the correct answer.
Review and closing(3 minutes)
- Gather students to sit in a circle. Call on a student from each partnership to share out their ideas.
- Use prompting questions to dig deep into students' thinking, such as:
- How did you decide whether you agreed or disagreed with the other partnership?
- Did you agree with the other partnership or did you both come up with different ideas?
- Do you agree or disagree with this partnerships' solution? Why or why not?
- Explain to the students that estimation is another way to figure out the amount, length, or size of something when you don't have access to a measuring tool or time to measure with a unit of measurement.