At Prakriti we believe in learning by doing. Learning is through experiences that build on the learner’s context. Mathematics often gets trodden under the pressure of learning new esoteric concepts and mastering procedural accuracy. However, at Prakriti from the very beginning teaching-learning of Mathematics is seen as an opportunity to break away from this tyranny to make it child friendly and fun. In early years maths is taught with play such as counting rope skips and with concrete objects such as marbles, and Ganit Mala.
Engaging the learners through hands-on experiences along with a context in mathematics can help us to develop some very useful and essential mathematical skills which can connect mathematics to their everyday life and make it more meaningful.
This year while working with the concepts of numbers with Grade 3 learners, we discussed and worked on one of the most essential mathematical skills i.e skill of estimation. During the discussion the learners not only related estimation with numbers but they also connected it with measurement of area, volume of things which are an important part of spatial reasoning . Also, during our discussion we realised that we almost use estimation each and every day which certainly makes it an important skill.
Now, I would like to start by talking about some more reasons behind seeing estimation as an important mathematical skill and then share about the strategies which our learners came up with while doing an assignment on estimation.
So, as we know that estimation plays a very important role in our daily life. In our real life experiences we use estimation more often than the precise calculations. Also, estimation is not only a part of our daily life but it also gives us a platform to work on some very important aspects of mathematics too. Like comprehending an entire situation, then making connections and reasoning out, and it also encourages the learners to think of various quick mental strategies which in overall helps them to build up their problem-solving skills and use it in their day to day life. Therefore, it becomes very important to make this valuable skill a part of our classrooms as it not only helps learners to work on several other mathematical aspects but also helps to see mathematics in a more meaningful and useful way.
Now, let’s look at some examples of estimation which learners shared during the session. So, they started it with something very immediate in their environment like food where we use estimation for putting the amount of ingredients desired for a particular dish. One of them talked about the use of estimation in markets for example: estimating the cost of items purchased. Another example came from the use of estimation in finding areas of a land . So, these are just a few examples which are shared here but the learners had a bunch of it and that led to a very interactive and fun learning session for all of us.
Learners also did an assignment based on estimation in which they tried their hands on estimating the amount of rajma beans in the jars. In this assignment they first estimated the amount of beans and then actually counted the number of beans. Learners implemented various strategies to estimate the amount of beans like:
- Filling the container first and then counting the number of beans at the bottom and then filling the whole container and counting the number of beans vertically and then multiplying the number of beans on bottom with the number of vertical beans.
- Making a pair of ten beans and sorting them out and then making another pair of ten beans and keep continuing this process until the last bean and then calculating the number of pairs of beans.
Here is a video how our learners use their estimation method in calculating the number of beans:
About the author
Ms. Aakansha Gupta is a Primary Math Facilitator at Prakriti