Great Estimations

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Great Estimations Book Poster Image
Learn the tricks up every mathematician's sleeve.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book offers positive, common sense lessons that build math awareness and quantity recognition. Younger kids will enjoy looking at the pictures and doing the simpler lessons; older kids and adults will appreciate the harder challenges.

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What's the story?

Beginning pages introduce the basic idea of making estimations and then offer increasingly difficult examples to train the eye to remember. The last part of the book teaches more advanced tricks of clump counting and boxing. Finally, the reader is challenged to look for and solve estimation puzzles wherever they go.

Is it any good?

This common sense, clearly written book proves that math can be fun and offers entertaining, invaluable lessons that will make any reader feel more secure in the world of numbers.

Learning to make strong guesses about numbers and quantities is just about the most important skill any mathematician can learn. But figuring out a number that makes sense can be overwhelming unless you know a few tricks. GREAT ESTIMATIONS by educational writer Bruce Goldstone helps take the mystery out of guessing. Readers will feel more comfortable estimating as they turn each vibrantly illustrated page and learn clever but simple techniques for coming up with answers that make sense.

Beginning with a cover jumbled with jelly beans, the reader is led through progressive lessons with a question, a statement, and a hint or two on each set of pages. Engaging examples including collections of toys, candies, coins, seeds, beans, doll shoes, and people in a pool. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about each page and the lesson it offers. What is an estimation? How does it differ from a real number? How can you train your mind and your eye to make a good guess when you are trying to figure out how many jelly beans are in the jar or elbows in a box of macaroni? Practice clumping or box counting. Which works best for you? Can you think of other techniques that might help you make good estimations? Apply what you've learned when you go on drives, walks, or to the supermarket. Make a point of always guessing before you count.

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