In these first weeks of school, I chose to use Estimation 180 in my high school algebra 2 classes. I teach advanced students. One might expect them to be proficient at many different math skills based on their abilities. It is clear that estimation is not a strength :) BUT they love the activity! They ask to do Estimation 180, and if I forget to use it for a few days, they remind me!
number of candy corn candies in the bag - from Estimation 180. (Parents sent in individual packs of candy corn for us to enjoy as we worked through our exploration.) I wrote about my plans here and here.
First we made our own guesses ... how many scoops fill the jar. This time, I asked students to share their reasoning before I revealed the solution. I also shared my reasoning. I stressed to students that blindly guessing without some point of reference was not the point of the task. Because Estimation 180 is fun and a non-graded activity, some students had been "just guessing." When I would ask them how they determined their guess, they could not provide any reasoning. So with this task today, I made my expectations clear ... I expected sound reasoning and as small a percent of error as possible.
Then I revealed the data from the email I sent to staff, parents, and select students the week before about how many candies were in the bag of candy corn. Students worked through the analysis of the data using Google spreadsheet, their graphing calculator and Desmos. I shared a bit about those days in my 180 blog, Day A, and Day B.
Estimation 180 provided the perfect context for collecting and analyzing data. Going forward, I plan to use Estimation 180 to work on students' reasoning skills. Eventually I'd like to challenge students to come up with their own ideas to submit to the site!