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Teaching students how to estimate after they have become accustomed to the precision of addition and subtraction can sometimes be a challenge. For those who have a hard time understanding the concept, and who may even be burned out by the whole process of traditional mathematical learning, Questimate just may be answer.
This fun and engaging estimation game app allows users to take control, helping them use the understanding they have to answer estimating questions and, in the process, learn more about the importance of estimation.
Questimate is incredibly interactive. Users choose their own questions by tapping on different phrases until a complete question appears at the top. After the question appears, a dynamic graphic or interactive element appears, allowing you to, for example, change the size of one animal in relation to another or add the correct number to the question using a keypad. The user’s estimate is then compared to the correct answer on a number line, which integrates another key mathematical skill into the app, and the relative success of the user’s response is rated based on how close the answers were.
Users earn points based on how close the estimate was to the correct answer, and those points can be used to unlock additional levels of game play. Each level offers users three opportunities for wrong answers (wrong being defined as outside of the “circles” that indicate an appropriate estimate) before all the user’s lives are lost. The questions can be challenging, and if a student is having trouble understanding the principles behind estimates,they may find this frustrating. However, it’s easy to try again and earning points give a psychological boost to keep them going.
One element that is very attractive about Questimate are the question topics. Students will be confronted with questions about topics they are familiar with but that they couldn’t possibly have a complete knowledge of—perfect fodder for estimation games. They might need to figure out how many Xboxes, stacked on top of each other, would be as tall as a giraffe or how many pigeons would be as long as a brown bear. These familiar yet challenging topics are sure to engage students.
When an answer is incorrect, students even have recourse if they disagree. A button at the bottom of every answer page allows users to see where app creators got their information and how they came to their answer. It’s the ultimate example of “showing your work” and students can learn from the process.
Questimate is a fantastic app with a great deal of classroom potential that also can be applied to over 10 common core standards. You’ll enjoy finding all of the ways that you can use this tool to engage students in estimation. The app is free to download with additional content available with a small purchase.