Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rounding to the nearest 10, 100, and 1000

Teaching students how to estimate by rounding whole numbers to the nearest 10, 100, 1000 is a challenge. I certainly experienced this as a Grade 4 teacher.  Like many teachers, I tried the 'rules' approach: if the number is 5 or more, round up etc.  Unfortunately, this created more confusion and I soon learned that the rules didn't mean anything to my students.  They needed to 'construct' the rules themselves.

I was more successful teaching this concept when I went back to number lines and skip counting.  This visual representation of what rounding 'looks like' allowed my students to develop conceptual understanding first.  Procedural understanding came later.

This is a great video I found on Youtube that illustrates how to round using number lines:

If you're a Grade 6 teacher, you might still want to review how to round to the nearest 10, before moving on to 100 and 1000.

Once students understand the 'midpoint', they can move on to larger numbers:

Independent practice can then be done in fun and interesting ways:

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