Fairbanks’ Estimation Station: Ending the Year with a Bang

Fairbanks’ Estimation Station: Ending the Year with a Bang

Cassandra Clark

By Cassie Clark

On May 8th, Ms. Fairbanks and a group of math students ended their year of estimation study and number sense with a bang.

Outside the cafeteria, during lunches, the class set up their ‘Estimation Station,’ where they polled the student body on their answers to three prepared questions. They then performed the necessary trials to find the results.

The class asked a series of estimation questions of the general student body, including:

  • How many  lemon and grape skittles are in a [large] jar?
  • How many cups can we fill to the line with soda?
  • How many rubber bands will it take to blow up a watermelon?

The results were as follows:

  • Combined Lemon & Grape Skittles – 303
  • Filled to the Line Cups – 26
  • Required Rubber Bands – 181

The results, though similar to what many of the students expected, surprised some of the others.

“I didn’t expect there to be, what, 303 of the yellow and purple skittles together”, said junior, Hunter Holzworth, regarding these results. “I expected it to be a heck of a lot less than 303.”

Higher expectations seemed to be the case for the watermelon experiment, where Fairbanks commented, “I thought, watching the videos, it was going to take 500. So I was glad it didn’t, because it took us half an hour to get 181 on there.”

Ms Fairbanks’ math class had been preparing for their grand finale for about a week and a half before any experimenting occurred. This included teamwork in class as well coordination with a number of different teachers throughout the school. This included a trip to see Mr. King and the lunch ladies for supplies and some planning with Mr. Haas, who helped create a video of the final project.

As for what inspired the project, Fairbanks said that their curriculum had taken the class from number sense on to estimation, where she thought a fun project, such as this, would fit in well at the end of the year.

“We’ve done Estimation 180, which is a website, everyday of the school year, and I thought it would be fun for us to do our own estimating in the school,” Fairbanks said.

Overall, Ms. Fairbanks and her students seemed to very much enjoy the experiments, naming the watermelon explosion as their favorite.

“I would do it again,” said Fairbanks. “Maybe with a different group of kids, because they’ve already done it before, or we could work on making it better with different stations”.

Only one regret was voiced by a student who said, “I wouldn’t have brought white shoes” – a comment that was met with laughter from the class.

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