Ditch the Rhymes
Rhymes don’t teach number sense.
Strategies to Teach
Start with Place Value
My first recommendation is to make sure that your students can recognize the tens’ place. Even in 3rd grade, it’s still important to count by tens.
The next step is to teach students to identify the tens that a number is between. They should be able to tell you that 43 is between 40 and 50. The same strategy should be used when rounding to other place values as well.
Circle and Underline
For struggling students, or students who need accommodations, keep a hundreds chart nearby. I suggest keeping a few charts laminated, or in sheet protectors for reuse. Students can color in with a dry-erase marker the number they are rounding, and then color in the tens that the number is between.
Real Life Stories
Other students may just need you to relate rounding to a real life story. I’ve told my students that the hallway represents our number line. There is a bathroom on each end of the hallway. As they are walking down that hallway, they suddenly realize they need to use the restroom! Well, if you are not half way down the hall, would you keep going? Or, would it be wiser to turn around and go to the closer bathroom?! If you are half-way or more down the hallway, it wouldn’t be smart to turn around. Keep going until you reach the end because it is closer. Sometimes, they just need to relate math to their every day lives.
Resources for Rounding
Or, use Not So Wimpy Teacher’s Rounding Interactive Notebook FREEBIE! It includes activities to practice using those number lines and a fun dice rolling activity! Click HERE to grab it.