Estimation skills is one the ‘higher order thinking’ skills and needs to be inculcated in the primary section itself. Estimation requires the students to arrive at a reasonable guess of the approximate answer. It involves an interaction of mental computation, number sense or concepts and arithmetic skills.
Our real life experience involves a lot of estimation, right from buying groceries, cooking to professions like architecture, contractors, consultants etc.
This skill has to be developed in the schools and the lesson, ‘Measurement’ has a huge scope for this.
My point here is that WHY we SHOULD NOT begin the lesson of Measurement in Grade 4 or 5 as it shows in most of the Maths text book, with an introduction to the metric system –
The lesson of Measurement must begin with inculcating the estimation skill leading to the realisation that getting ‘actual measurements’ is the absolute need and that requires a set of standardized measuring units. This will attach lot of relevance to the understanding of the metric system and it’s usage. We must allow the students to arrive at this ‘learning’.
A few years ago one school tried this approach with Grade 4 students.
A problem was given to the students – the primary section was planning to create a new jungle gym in another corner. The students were asked for advice regarding how much area, the number of slides etc. to add etc. The students intuitively wanted to first check out the existing jungle gym. They went in groups and were left alone to figure out what to do.
The teacher was around to watch and guide. The students realised that they need to know how to measure the height, length, area etc. At this point it is important for the teacher to NOT EXPECT correct answers by them and ALLOW the to ESTIMATE.
The students do an introspection at the end of the first day session when they realise that each group came back with DIFFERENT ideas of ‘what was the measurement’. This is when the the teacher will introduce the standard units of measurements.
The students then go back the next day and now use measuring tapes to get an idea of the space. The teacher here can help them to understand very clearly the need for smaller and larger units of measurements.
By Ranjani Mitra – Snr Educational Specialist
Reiki for spiritual growth.
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