Top 5 ways to teach rounding to your students.

Back to School in third grade at least means place value and rounding for math.  I have always enjoyed teaching rounding because I have some fun tricks and hands on ideas that have always helped make this concept easier for kids to understand.

One of my favorite tried and true ways to teach this concept is by this fun poem that I've used for years....

1.)  A rounding poem is a sure fire way to help them!

teaching rounding poem posters
So if you teach your students to memorize this poem they will be much more successful at rounding.  When I walk around my classroom I hear my students saying this quietly in their heads when they are trying to decide what to do with a number.

When they look at a number like this:

53...and they are asked to round to the nearest 10.  They know they can use the poem to help them.

2.)  The buddy system never fails!

3.)  A number line can be your best friend when teaching rounding.   Using a number line when teaching rounding is super helpful and very visual for the kids that need it. A number line helps kids visually 'see' where the number falls and what number it is closer to - which leads to my next tip.....

teaching rounding with a number line

4.)  Help your students find the midpoint on the number line when teaching rounding.

5.)  Now that they have found the midpoint they can visually see is the number 5 or higher or 4 or less like the poem from tip #1. 
But go one step further!!!  Give each child a pipe cleaner and a bead...

teaching rounding with pipe cleaners and beads, so hands on

Next...have them draw a number line on their white boards using the numbers involved for the number they are trying to round.

As you can see from the photos - they draw a number line, write the number on top that they need to round and find the midpoint.  After that they write the numbers on either side - this is determined by what they are rounding by...for instance if they are rounding to the nearest 10 it would've looked differently than what is shown since this is to the nearest 100.  In the second pictures above the child labeled their number line and found the midpoint ( and labeled that under the bead ) and then they wrote the number they were trying to round where they thought it would go approximately.  They told me that it was visually closer to the 600.  I had them say the poem to be sure - 5 or more let it soar....and they knew they were correct.

If you are looking for these poems or for some more fun, hands on rounding activities you can find them here:

Teaching rounding first through third grade, hands on math ideas

This is very visual and my third graders LOVE it!  Since we talk so much about resting and soaring I have them first complete a 'sort' and then we do several activities where they circle the airplane or the bed to show that they understand the poem and more importantly the concept or rounding.

Kids love interactive activities so along with some dice games I play with them we use paperclips and pencils to spin and find the right answers for rounding with these.

You can find this pack here which includes all ideas above and them poems :   ( click the picture )

Teaching rounding tips and tricks

I  also have another one here but it doesn't include the poem I talked about in this post:

Teaching rounding tips and tricks

I hope these ideas were super helpful to you if you are teaching on rounding...these ideas can be used 1st - 3rd grade....enjoy and happy teaching!


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