written by
the Physics Education Technology Project

Available Languages: English, Spanish

This interactive Flash animation allows students to explore size estimation in one, two and three dimensions. Multiple levels of difficulty allow for progressive skill improvement. In the simplest level, users estimate the number of small line segments that can fit into a larger line segment. Intermediate and advanced levels offer feature games that explore area of rectangles and circles, and volume of spheres and cubes. Related lesson plans and student guides are available for middle school and high school classroom instruction.

This is part of a larger collection developed by the Physics Education Technology project (PhET).

Editor's Note:When the linear dimensions of an object change by some factor, its area and volume change disproportionately: area in proportion to the square of the factor and volume in proportion to its cube. This concept is the subject of entrenched misconception among many adults. This game-like simulation allows kids to use spatial reasoning, rather than formulas, to construct geometric sense of area and volume.

3-5: 2A/E2. Mathematical ideas can be represented concretely, graphically, or symbolically.

9. The Mathematical World

9C. Shapes

3-5: 9C/E1. Length can be thought of as unit lengths joined together, area as a collection of unit squares, and volume as a set of unit cubes.

6-8: 9C/M7. For regularly shaped objects, relationships exist between the linear dimensions, surface area, and volume.

9-12: 9C/H2. When the linear dimensions of an object change by some factor, its area and volume change disproportionately: area in proportion to the square of the factor and volume in proportion to its cube. Properties of an object that depend on its area or volume also change disproportionately.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

NSES Content Standards

Con.U: Unifying Concepts & Processes

K-12: Change, Constancy, Measurement

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Measurement and the Language of Physics Unit Title: Scale, Order of Magnitude, and Estimation

Students explore size estimation in 1, 2, and 3 dimensions. Multiple levels of difficulty allow for progressive skill improvement. CAUTION: This activity is addictive!

%0 Electronic Source %A Physics Education Technology Project, %D December 1, 2005 %T PhET Simulation: Estimation %V 2014 %N 24 April 2014 %8 December 1, 2005 %9 application/java %U http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/estimation

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