Teaching Rounding in your Montessori Class
Teaching rounding is a vital skill for understanding place value.
In Montessori we have lots of maths activities that naturally lend themselves to teaching about rounding. You may have been implicitly teaching rounding however it is important that like all maths concepts we bring the key concept to the foreground and explicitly teach how to do it.
If you are going to be teaching rounding of a 2 digit number then the child needs to be able to confidently read the written numeral and understand how it is made e.g. 25 has 2 ten bars and 5 units or a 5 colored bead bar. The same goes for higher numbers for example if you are teaching rounding of a 4 digit number then the child needs to be able to confidently read the written numeral and understand how it is made with the golden beads or stamp game.
Rounding needs to be done in a context so children can understand its point. For example simply saying to a child what number could 56 021 round to is not helpful as the child has no point of reference. A better question might be is 56 020 closer to 56 000 or 57 000?
I would also suggest utilising a numberline to help students understand numbers.
A numberline is simply a piece of paper with one number on one end and another at the far end for the child to see how numbers relate to each other.
Another important thing to remember when asking maths questions is to allow opportunity for students to explore open ended maths questions, that is questions that have more than one correct answer.
Closed Rounding question: Is 643 closer to 640 or 650?
Open Rounding question: Write some numbers that could be rounded to 100 explain how you got your answer.
The great thing about open questions is it means that you can see what strategies a child is using and can also see how fluent they are at explaining their answer to others.
My rounding set includes open and closed questions.
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Download 80 rounding questions that utilise Montessori equipment with open and closed questions here.