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If your kids can’t relate to the rules of rounding, try this storytelling idea
Language Arts, Math
3, 4, 5, 6
Title – A Rounding Party
By – Crystal Davenport
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 3-6
I use a story to help my students with rounding. Storytelling is a great way for students to remember key concepts. I had a group of students one year that was really struggling with rounding. I had pulled every teaching method from my hat and was at a complete loss. I have no idea where the inspiration came from, but the students loved the story and more importantly they “got it”. I add names and funny things every year, but you will get the general idea.
I will have a number on the overhead (ex. 72,683) and we will go over place value again. I will then tell the class we are going to round the number to the (tens place) so we find the (tens place) together and underline it. Then I tell them all these numbers are like houses. We are actually in the (8) house. Our neighbor on the right is having a party. So we go over to his/her house. Draw an arrow, top, from the (8) to the (3). I tell my students that everyone over there is having a great time and we can bring back a friend… IF there are at least a handful of people there. (I hold up one hand and have the class count with me… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. A HANDFUL). So we are over there at the party and we are having a great time too, but we must go home, now do we take a friend back with us or do we go back alone? I again hold up my hand and ask the class if they see a handful of people at the house. There are only (3) so we must go home alone. That means our number stays the same (8). The houses to the right all become zeros because we are “oooooover it” and we are only allowed to go to the house immediately beside us on the right. The houses to our “left” always want to be “left” alone! So I start by writing our house number down which didn’t change this time, then all zeros to the right because we are ooooover it, and the houses to the “left” always stay the same because they want to be “left alone”.
Like I said, I just made it up one day on the spur of the moment and it has been a winner ever since. The kids love it. I can hear them asking other students during group work, “Now, is three a handful? You’re going to make someone mad.” I get a kick out of it, but if it helps the kids, then I am satisfied. Hope you find it helpful too.
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