Spontaneous Estimation in Kindergarten

One of the games we played in class with the kindergartners consists of two decks of cards.  The game is called Turbo-count and I will write about the it separately, as it is a great one for this age group, but this post is about an unplanned math conversation that happened around the two decks.  My favorite conversations with the kids are usually the ones that are not initiated by me.

I took out one of the decks and immediately one of the kids said, “Wow, that’s like 1000 cards!”  I asked him if he really thought it was 1000.  He looked at it again and said “Nah, more like 100.”

“Hey, lets count them,” I suggested.  “But first, everyone tell me how many you think there are.”


Kid 1 stuck to his 100, kid 2 estimated 40, kids 3 and 4 both guessed 25.  Then we counted together.  There turned out to be 48 cards.  I then asked who was the closest and all the kids chimed together that it was kid 2.  This made for one happy and proud kid.

Kid 1 then pointed to the second set of cards in the game and said with a smile, “I meant 100 including those.”

This second set was clearly somewhat smaller, but not by a whole lot.  


I had the kids try guess how many they thought was in that one.  The kids’ estimates were 29, 25, 26 and “something in the 20s”.  It was hard for me to tell how much the first few estimates affected the later ones, but I was impressed that all the kids understood that the amount should be less than 48 but at the same time not too small.  We then counted and got 36.  The kids seemed satisfied with that.  It was time to start the actual game!

About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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