Rounding is a skill taught, reinforced, and practiced in almost any elementary classroom. It’s also a life skill that we need our students to master early on. Although we as teachers know how essential it is for our students to grasp this concept, many still struggle with the basics of rounding.
One of the biggest problems my students had with rounding was identifying the “landmark” numbers which is why I created a number line which helped them to visualize the number.
Even in my 4th grade classroom, I had many students who had a difficult time knowing where to begin when asked to round. One of the biggest barriers that these students had, was finding the “landmark numbers” that a number landed between.
For example, when rounding the nearest hundreds, the number 750 lands between the landmark numbers of 700 and 800. Identifying these landmark numbers is a crucial first step in rounding.
To help my students practice this step, I created a center activity using a number line that highlights important landmark numbers. The number line helped students to visualize their number.
To use the number line activity, students would flip up 2 digit cards if rounding to the nearest tens, and 3 digit cards if rounding to the nearest hundreds (Two different rounding mats were provided.). This would form the number that they were working with.
Then, students would place 2 markers, such as bingo chips, pennies, or eraser tops, over the landmark numbers on the line where their number fell between. This helped give students a starting point for what their options were in regards to what they would be rounding to (In this case, students would either round 59 to 50 or 60.)
Looking at the number line, students mentally visualized which landmark number their number was closest to. Students would then show their work on the recording sheet.
To help reinforce this concept on their own, I sent my students home with an activity sheet that was similar to the center:
After students had gotten comfortable identifying landmark numbers, and no longer needed the number line to do so, they could participate this skill in other rounding games. Two student-favorites included “Rounding Bingo” and “Rounding Memory.”
Grab this FREEBIE number line to use with your students. Click here!
If my students weren’t quite ready to flip-flop back and forth between rounding to the nearest tens and hundreds, I would have them play “Rounding Bingo.”
I had two versions of the game: one for rounding to the nearest tens (find it here), and one for rounding to the nearest hundreds (find it here).
Up to 8 players could join in on this math center game. Their Bingo “R-O-U-N-D” boards had the rounded numbers on it, while the calling cards had the non-rounded numbers on it. The caller would announce the row and number on their calling card to the players (ex. U-987) Students would then round that number to the nearest tens or hundreds, depending on the version they were playing, and search for the answer on their boards.
The calling cards were placed on the calling mat (shown above) to keep track of the numbers that were called.
Another loved game in my classroom was “Rounding Memory.” Once students practiced specifically with rounding JUST to the nearest tens or JUST to the nearest hundreds, we took it one last step further by having them round to both (tens and hundreds) within one game.
Here, some of the cards required students to round to the nearest tens, while others were to be rounded to the nearest hundreds. The underlined digit indicated to the students which place value to round to.
Following the traditional rules of the game, students created an array of all the cards and fliped up two cards to find a match.
These games were always a favorite in my class! They make for easy-prep centers and activities, and can even be kept in the classroom all year for playing during free time!
Check out one or both of these games!