Estimate:How many beans in each jar?

During our castle project, the children spent time determining the distance between countries and exploring concepts like greater than, less than, closer, farther, and understanding the quantity that each number represents.  As we looked up the miles between Texas and Japan, and Texas and England, we began investigating which distances were closer and farther.  To help the children master this skill, we set up an “estimation” center in our class.

Since focusing on numbers 1-100 lately,we thought it would be a great idea to incorporate estimating numbers through out the week!


  1. To calculate approximately (the amount, extent, magnitude, position, or value of something).
  2. To form an opinion about;

First I explained to the students what estimating means..How they can take a guess without actually counting the amount.

We talked about the 5 jars in front of us with numbers 1- 5 written on them. They were to pick a jar, look at it, see if it has less or more and than make a guess  of how many beans were in the jar.

Estimation is …

… finding a number that is close enough to the right answer.

  • You are not trying to get the exact right answer
  • What you want is something that is good enough.

Estimation helps you focus on what is really going on.

Some of the jars had a small number of beans while other jars had a VERY BIG amount of beans, but for us as beginners in estimating.. the task was to make sure we noticed which jar had less and which jar had more. And we are happy to see we accomplished that!!

We also got a lot of practice writing our numbers..and when we would get stuck trying to write a big number, we had the help of a number chart..that we happily counted with our friends to reach the number we wanted to write!

After the children made a guess on each jar, we brought in 5 plates where we poured our beans into…and began counting each plate to see how many beans were in it.

The children were very excited to count and see how close they were!

We will be expanding and adding new cool things to our estimation area and cannot wait to use it more!

Having your children use the term “estimate” and estimate different items would be a great opportunity for them to continue doing it at home!

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