Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Science Activity - Estimation Exploration

Last week's science activity from Sid the Science Kid at PBS Parents was all about estimation.  The purpose of this activity was to learn about estimating numbers of objects and then checking the estimates by counting.

This is what we did:

  • Give the child 20 pieces of something (marbles, crayons, acorns, etc.) and let them observe what '20' looks like.  We used these foam sheets because Trevor had been playing with them that morning lining them up to make roads.
  • Next give the child 10 pieces of that same something.  Let them observe what '10' looks like and note that it is less than '20.'
  • Then give the child another (unknown by the child) number of the item and have them estimate how many is there.  Have the child count the items to see if they were close.
  • Repeat as many time as you'd like.

 Here's Trevor getting a good feel for what '20' looks like.

Now he's trying to estimate how many were in this pile.  He kept trying to count to make his guess.  Estimation was definitely a new concept for him!

Finally, counting to see how many were actually there (of course he had to line them up like a road =)  I was really impressed at how good his estimations were!  He never guessed anything silly, like 400.  He mostly guessed '10' or '20' which I thought was good because he was likening it to the sizes of the piles I gave him to observe in the beginning.

I thought this was another simple, yet brain-stimulating early science activity.  And I love that once again, there was really no prep work.  Have you done anything like this with your child?  I'd love to hear about any fun activities you have done with your kids!

Happy Estimating!


  1. I still am 'guestimating' when I cook. It is hard to follow a recipe. Good photos for this post to get your point across!!

  2. This is a fabulous way of introducing observation and estimation techniques! Found you from living life intentionally blog, but I also co- write @ScienceSparks blog and we hold a linky there called Fun Sparks on a Thursday and would love you to link up! Also if you like science you will find some fab experiments for little ones there!

  3. multiplemummy, thanks for visiting! I will check out Fun Sparks next Thursday, sounds fun!

  4. This is a wonderful idea. We've been working on simila concepts with our Shiller Math kit, which I received as a trade from someone for some tutoring lessons. I love the ease of using it and my kids really enjoy the lessons.

  5. What a fun estimation activity! I love hands on activities like this. I take for granted I can estimate, but boy my kids still need stuff like this so thanks for sharing! Thanks for linking to TGIF Linky Party! I look forward to more of your posts!
    Beth =-)

  6. Great idea!!
    I've tried to introduce estimation but my son is so worried about being wrong! He'd rather just count as well!
    I really love the idea of giving them a feel for the amount before you ask them to guess! Great starting point!

  7. Visiting from HHH. I LOVE this idea and can't wait to try it with my preschooler! We have been working on measurement using household items (like her snacks) as the measurement tools, but have not tired estimation yet.

  8. Thanks for the comments, ladies! I hope you enjoy this activity with your little ones =)

  9. I hoped on over from HHH. We love Sid at our house, too! Estimation is difficult. My 5 year old does not understand why you would ever make a guess at math. He is a right and wrong kind of guy.

  10. Catie, that's funny =) Thanks for sharing!

  11. I just love this is a great way to start getting children to think about estimation. Simple but effective. Thanks for linking to science sparks.


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