From a recent article in the December 12, 2011, edition of Time Magazine   entitled “Good GuessWhy we shouldn’t underestimate the value of estimating” author Annie Murphy Paul pointed to research that clearly proved the benefit of having children estimate, both and home and at school.   According to the researchers who study the science of learning, estimation is the ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION for advanced math skills, abstract thinking required to achieve good grades in school, and the ability to get and keep a job in our knowledge-based economy.  So what is a parent to do?

  • Ask your children to make everyday predictions like: how much will this cart full of groceries cost? How much gas will the car take? What time do you thing the casserole will be done?
  • Play board games with them letting them guess the number of moves necessary to get the next “win” on the board.
  • Talk about how many miles it is to Grandma’s house, or the mall, etc.
  • Use unusual units to guess – for instance, “how many daddies long is the football field.”

Be creative and let everyone guess. We benefit from considering other opinions.  Allow for discussion on how your children arrived at their guess and how near they were to the correct answer.  Have fun with this and the payoff will be great.