**"HEY, THAT'S KINDA NEAT"**

I don't recall the exact day I discovered Estimation 180, or what led me there, but some time near the start of this calendar year I stumbled across the site. I remember thinking, "Hey, that's kinda neat," before returning to whatever it is I was supposed to be working on. I didn't give it any additional thought until a few weeks later.

**"THIS IS TOTALLY AWESOME"**

For some reason, upon my return to @mr_stadel's collection of estimation challenges my reaction shifted from "Hey, that's kinda neat" to "Okay, this is totally awesome and I've gotta use it with my students tomorrow!" Whatever the reason for the shift, I was officially on the Estimation 180 bandwagon.

Fast forward one day. I took the original handout posted online, tweaked it slightly for my use, and began experimenting on several of my classes (primarily those in grades 7 through 9). Their reaction? They loved it! And not just a few kids (you know, the ones who are always interested in everything I throw at them, even if it's terrible). Students who normally hate everything we do in class couldn't get enough of the estimation challenges. (They actually cheer out loud when I tell them we're going to do an Estimation 180 challenge.)

**WHY MY STUDENTS ENJOY ESTIMATION 180**

It's not difficult to see why my students love Estimation 180. It's fun! The challenges are varied. Writing a guess (on paper and/or the board) creates student buy-in and builds anticipation for the answer. (One day we ran over by about a minute in my least-interested-in-mathematics class of all time, and they wouldn't leave the classroom until I showed them the answer!)

Fun, variety, engagement… What more do you need?

**WHY I THINK ESTIMATION 180 IS AWESOME**

In the past five or six weeks, I've been pumping up Estimation 180 every chance I get. Aside from the fact that Andrew shells out $20 for every positive Tweet, $40 for complimentary blog posts, and $100 for shout-outs at workshops (hey, I've gotta find some way to pay for all of these diapers), there are three reasons (beyond the reasons students give) why I think it's worth spreading the estimation love.

**1. Estimation 180 builds number sense.**

Okay, so I stole this from Andrew, but (despite what @fawnpnguyen may say) just because he said it doesn't mean it's not true.

**2. Estimation 180 builds unit sense.**

Maybe I live alone on an island of student mediocrity, but my kids generally have no sense of the length, area, volume, distance, duration, mass, etc., of real things. Things fall apart even more when they try to use something other than inches, feet, pounds, and a select few other units. The Estimation 180 challenges give them an opportunity to turn this weakness into a strength.

One example: I had a student genuinely guess 250,000 miles for Day 136. By the time we got to Day 140, every guess was between 800 and 1200 miles.

**3. Estimation 180 provides an excellent opportunity for students to "construct viable arguments…" (CCSSM Standard of Practice 3).**

Here's what Estimation 180 looks like in my room. We occasionally play in the middle of class (as a way to transition from one task to another), though more often than not it's saved for the end of class (as a way to keep them engaged in something worthwhile after we've wrapped up a lesson/activity).

Step 0: Shout at kids: "Take out your Estimation handout!"

Step 1: Throw a challenge on the screen.

Step 2: Give kids 30-60 seconds to write down their estimates on the handout.

Step 3: Give kids another 15-30 seconds to write their estimates on the board.

Step 4: Shout at stragglers: "Be in your seats in five… four… three… two… one…"

Step 5: Invite three students to share: "What was your estimate? Why did you pick it"

Step 6: Three kids share very briefly (10-15 seconds each).

Step 7: Give 'em what they want (the answer).

Step 8: Give a single clap to the closest student(s). (One, two, three, CLAP!)

The whole process takes about 5 minutes. I try to keep it short and sweet so it can fit into class on almost any day. I'm sure I could milk the process for more mathematical goodness if we had time (throw in some pedagogically thoughtful Step 2.b and/or Step 5.a.i) but this is the way we play right now. I like the brevity of the arguments students provide, in large part because the other opportunities for students to "construct viable arguments…" in my class often grow into larger, more involved things. I want kids to be able to express their reasoning clearly and (at times) concisely, and Estimation 180 provide a great forum for just that.

**THE FUTURE**

I plan to use Estimation 180 every day in all of my middle school classes next year. I recently introduced it to all of our 5th and 6th grade teachers (all three of them), and will encourage them to use it regularly next year.

I also plan to have my students do an Estimation 180 project sometime in the second quarter of next year. I haven't worked out the details yet, but it will involve students pairing up and going out into the world to find something worth estimating. I can't wait to see what students find interesting, intriguing, and challenging in their homes, neighborhoods, and the wider world.

I hope Andrew decides to continue creating estimation challenges. It doesn't roll off the tongue quite as nicely, but I did confirm this afternoon that www.estimation181through360.com is available. Whether it's a new set of challenges, or some "upgrade" to the old set, or something entirely new, I expect we'll see more great things from Mr. Stadel.

Submitted: May 18, 2013

## Thanks Michael (and your students) for contributing.

I look forward to your "Estimation 180 project sometime in the second quarter of next year"!

~ Andrew

~ Andrew