Q&A #7392

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: How do I teach rounding to fourth graders who just don't seem to get it?

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From: Claudia Donally

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001120421:43:49
Subject: rounding

This has worked for me with some (not all)recalcitrant third graders. They stand in a line with card stock. There are integers greater than 0 on one side, and 0's on all the backsides. To start with, all the non-zero integers face out.We do this as kind of a march-in-place chant. 1st student group: "What are we rounding to? What are we rounding to?" Student numbers: "Hundreds,(Say that's what we're working on.) hundreds, we're rounding to hundreds." 1st: "Who wants to change?" Child in the hundreds place steps forward. "I do! I do!" 1st: "What can you do?" "Go up one, or stay the same." 1st: "Who has the power? Who gets to say?" #'s: The tens! The tens!" Student in the tens place steps forward: "I have the power! I get to say!" Teacher: "Look at him/her. Can he/she do it? Is he/she a big, strong, muscular number? Or is it just a puny, little, wimpy number?" (Students say which--hopefully correctly.) Teacher: "Well, let's see." Student in tens fakes strenuous upward pushing on one in hundreds. Other numbers egg him on. (Another student has to be ready with the next higher number card, just in case.) 1st: "He/she made it! What a toughie!" or "Poor old weak tens." Whether up or down: 1st: "But he/she tried so hard he/she wore him/herself down to nothing." (Tens, breathing hard, flips number card to zero.) Remaining #'s: "Oh, no! Oh, no! We're going down, too." (And they all flip their cards over, together or, one by one, high to low.) New kids replace the numbers, numbers, and maybe value being rounded, change. The kids love it, but it's not a quiet exercise. It takes a lot of teacher energy, too. When it works, it's worth it.

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