Although my 12 year old daughter’s functional challenge is a mixed expressive/receptive language disorder, in school it is math that is her biggest challenge. While progress is being made – quite well in many math functions – the two “messy” math functions of rounding and estimating are an ongoing source of struggle for her.
My daughter is a very literal and concrete type of thinker. Gray areas and fuzzy numbers seem useless to her in the subject of math. If I say to her “we need ‘about’ 5 cups of water”, the word “about” will confound her every time. In her mind, we either need 5 cups or we need 4 or 6 and we should be precise.
As for the concept of estimating how many, that is even less precise and less understood by my daughter. To look at a picture of balloons in a bunch and asked to estimate how many, will befuddle her every time. “Mom, why can’t I just count them and tell you for sure how many?”. She can figure out the perimeter of a room or calculate linear inches, but she can’t begin to estimate how many jelly beans are in the jar at the dime store.
With the concept of rounding, I think we made some progress yesterday when I introduced a “team concept” to her …. number 1, 2, 3, 4 are on “Team Down” and “5, 6, 7, 8, 9″ are on “Team Up”.
As for estimating, I am as befuddled as she is with how to teach this fuzzy concept to her. I suppose that is why I have never entered a “guess how many” contest.
Recommendations and teaching concepts would be most appreciated.