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Q&A #495

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Rounding numbers to the nearest ten

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From: Mary A. 
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2000073118:25:13
Subject: Re: Re: Rounding numbers

Dear Mary,
I donít think it is possible to teach estimation for division or for
any other purpose without a knowledge of place value.  Division can be
taught by rote with little thinking or estimating, but it is certainly
not meaningful.

So I would think that getting her to understand the number system is
the most important thing you can do.  Using number lines and hundreds
charts might be a way to get her to see the patterns.  And then
teaching of "landmarks" from one to 100 is important--every number is
viewed in terms of where it is in relation to the landmark.  For
example, 50 is an important landmark.  Every time the student deals
with a number, she has to locate it on a number line or a hundreds
chart and look to see if it is more than 50 or less than 50.  And
then after 1 to 100 is somewhat familiar, you could move on to 1 to
1000.  Is a number more or less than 500.  What two hundreds is it
between?  And then within that hundred is it more or less than 50.

Although all of that may seem very elementary especially when you are
considering the grade and teaching decimals and division, it is very
important. She canít learn the advanced stuff with any kind of meaning
until she understands how the number system works and can find her way
around in it using landmarks she knows.  And she canít learn rounding
unless she knows those landmarks!

I wish I had an easier way for you to accomplish all you want to in
the month that you have, but I truly think there is no easy way in
this case!!

Good luck.

 -Mary A., for the Teacher2Teacher service


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