Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
and Home Child Care Providers

CME Group Community Foundation



Estimation Destination

Children will trace their own hands and estimate how many Fruit Loops it will take to fill it.

Content Area Standard Target
  • Numbers and Operations
  • Measurement
  • Data Analysis and Probability
  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems

  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them
  • Understand measureable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
  • Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurement
  • Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data
  • Count with understanding and recognize “how many” in sets of objects
  • Sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties
  • Recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time
  • Understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units
  • Select an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measure
  • Measure with multiple copies of units of the same size, such as paper clips laid end to end
  • Use tools to measure
  • Pose questions and gather data about themselves and their surroundings
  • Represent data using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs
  • Discuss events related to students’ experiences as likely or unlikely
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Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
  • Boxes of Fruit Loop cereal or any other small, round shaped cereal (Colored Cheerios)
  • Handouts with room for the children to trace their hands.  At the bottom of the page it should have a place for Estimate: ____________________ and Actual: ___________________ as well as a space for their name.
  • Dixie cups to hold the Fruit Loops
  • Glue 


Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the activity Introduce the Activity
  1. Explain to the children that today they are going to estimate how many Fruit Loops it takes to fill their traced hand.  Say: "First, you will guess/estimate how many Fruit Loops it will take to fill your hand, then you will actually glue the Fruit Loops on to your traced your hand and count them."
  2. So the children can have a reasonable idea of what their estimate should be and they aren’t guessing completely unrealistic numbers, model the activity first.  Talk out your thinking so that the children will be able to adapt the vocabulary and procedures into their activity. Say: “I am holding up my hand and wondering how many Fruit Loops it will take to fill my hand” “First, I am going to trace my hand on my recording sheet"  It has a place for my estimate and the actual number of Fruit Loops.” “I am going to estimate that it will require 40 Fruit Loops to fill my hand. Do you think that is a reasonable estimate? I am guessing 40 Fruit Loops because that seems about right to me when I think of the size of my hand and the size of the Fruit Loops. Now I will write the number 40 next to the place that says: Estimate.” Say: “Let’s see if I was accurate” Pour out some Fruit Loops into a little cup.  Begin covering and gluing the Fruit Loops into the hand you traced on the page.  Have the children glue the Fruit Loops down, otherwise they tend to move and it is hard to get an accurate count. After gluing all of the Fruit Loops down say,“I am finished and it actually took 57 Fruit Loops to fill my hand.  I will write the number 57 next to the place that says: Actual.”  Ask: “Is 57 more or less than my original estimate of 40?” 
Engage the children Engage the Children
  1. Give each child a recording sheet and a cup full of Fruit Loops.
  2. Circulate around to make sure that the children first give an estimate and then starting counting out and gluing down their Fruit Loops.  They might also need help tracing their own hands.
  3. Once the children are done and the Fruit Loops are securely glued, have the children talk about if their actual amounts were more or less than their original estimate.  Make a list of children who’s estimate was more than they guessed and less than they guessed.

Additional Extensions

  • Have the children compare their hands to their classmates.  “My hand is bigger.  It took 45 Fruit Loops in fill my hand.”  “My hand is smaller.  It took 34 Fruit Loops it fill my hand.”  Make a chart from biggest to smallest or smallest to biggest.  Or, if creating a bulletin board with the finished recording sheets, put the sheets in ascending or descending order.  Makes for a cute bulletin board!
Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
  • Estimate  To form an approximate judgment or opinion regarding the amount, worth, size, weight, etc., of; to calculate approximately (e.g., “Estimate how many Fruit Loops it will take to fill your hand.”)
  • Actual – Existing in fact; typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed (e.g., "The estimate was much less than the actual number of Fruit Loops.”)
  • How many – The total or sum (e.g., “How many Fruit Loops does it take to fill your hand?”)
  • More – A value that is higher or greater in number (e.g., “Is the actual number of Fruit Loops more than your estimate?”)
  • Less – A value that is smaller in number (e.g., “Is the actual number of Fruit Loops less than your estimate?”)

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Make adaptations Make Adaptations

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Have difficulty grasping the idea of estimation.
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Pre-K Children may:

  • Have estimates and actual numbers that are in close range; reasonable estimates are being made.

Home child care providers may:

  • Provide a different recording sheet that just has the children count the number of Fruit Loops it would take to fill their hand.  The recording sheet should just have a space for the amount of Fruit Loops used. 


Home child care providers may:

  • Have the children trace their feet and estimate how many Fruit Loops it will take to fill their feet and then count out and fill their feet to find out the actual number of Fruit Loops.
  • Have the children measure items around the classroom by using the same process used to measure  their hands and feet.


Books Books
  • How Many Seeds In A Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara & G. Brian Karas (New York: Swartz & Wade, 2007)
  • Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy  (New York:  Square Fish, 2000)
  • Great Estimations by Bruce Gladstone  (New York: Squarefish, 2010)
Music and movement Music and Movement
Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
  • Again, using the Fruit Loops, have the children estimate and then measure objects outside.  Make sure the objects aren’t too big.  Leaves, the surface of a small table, any smaller two-dimensional object.

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