Q&A #1154

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Front End Estimation

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From: donna ellis

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004112309:17:59
Subject: front end "guess" oops estimation

My 8 1/2 yr old daughter just finished FEE, after mastering rounding in the thousands. Naturally, she is confused by the conflict between the 2 approaches. I never experienced anything so absolutely insane as this purported skill. No wonder why every kid in the developed nations beat the hell out of US kids in math. Why is FEE ridiculous? Easy. Take for eg, 149 + 299 + 875. If you use FEE, you are so off base (answer 1100). Why not simply round to the nearest hundred (answer 1300). (Actually, the precise answer is 1323. Now, comparing stradegies ( or should a say some way out guess and a stradegy, isn't 1300 closer to 1323 than 1100?????? I just hope and pray that when I officially become a senior, I will have patience for the cashier, the bank teller, stockbroker and accountant who had the misfortune learning and relying on FEE. BTW, I'm not a mathematician, but I learned how to add, subtract, multiply & divide before any complex math was taught. In 1st grade, for a brief time, a bead board was used to show physically how it works. The teacher & school expected that the kids would quickly comprehend and then it was off to the arithmetic tables. Interested, a large majority of the kids moved along without any difficulty. Why don't we just have high, but reasonable expectation for our children, instead of crippling them with senseless stradegies based upon some esoteric idea that we all suffer from some brain malfuction. Teach our kids to set high goals and rise to academic success. A final note, what about letting a kid explore the wonder of numbers and discover their own stragedies. They actually may do better than being spoon fed.

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