Friday, August 27, 2021

How to Teach Rounding to 3rd Graders

Hey, there fellow 3rd Grade Teacher Friend!!

Whether you're new to the grade level or just need some extra tips on teaching Gr.3 Math, I'm here to support you with tips, ideas, and resources to best address your Math Standards!

Did you know that most of the math content taught in 3rd grade is brand new concepts for your students? For the first time ever, many students tend to struggle with math because they're learning everything for the first time! I'll be updating this blog frequently to share some tips with you on teaching these tricky math standards!

Before we begin though, I did want to share this important resource with you. Use this as a guide to know what your critical math content is and where you should spend the most of your time and focus on in instruction.

Let’s jump in and talk Rounding: 3.NBT.1.


First things first, Rounding is NOT a critical skill for 3rd Grade. I would not spend any longer than 1 week (max) focusing on this skill. Students WILL need to know and understand how to round in the 4th grade (they will round to larger place values).

Now, I want you to forget about all prior ways of teaching rounding you may have used in the past. 

  • Rounding Mountain

  • The Roller Coaster

  • Any cute songs or poems about “5 or more raise the score…” or “underling the digit you’re rounding to, look next door”


What is Rounding?

Engage in discussion with students about what it means to round. They must understand that rounding means estimating a number's value by finding the nearest ten or hundred.

Then, you'll want to talk about instances when a student might use rounding.

Before Teaching:

Before teaching, make sure that students can skip count by 10s. Continue to skip count well into the hundreds so that students can see/hear the patterns (110, 120, 130, 140…..210, 220, 230, 240, etc). 

The Simplest Way to Teach Rounding:

Number lines are the best way for students to visually see and understand what a number will round to. 

I’ve created this number line that can be used for Rounding to the Nearest 10 and 100. Before teaching, all you need to do is print a double-sided copy for each student and place them in a sheet protector. Each child will have their own to work from. They can simply use an expo marker to practice and then erase.

  1. Ask students what two 10s the number is in between. Label it on the number line.

  2. Ask students what the halfway point between those two 10s is. 

  3. Ask students where the number they are rounding falls on the number line? Is it before or after the midway point? Plot it.

  4. Students can then visually see which 10 the number is closest to. 

You would follow this same procedure for rounding to the nearest 100. 

This method is so simple, yet so effective! Have kids hold their “boards” up so that you can do a quick scan around the room to check for accuracy. The best thing about this strategy is that eventually, students will begin to visualize that number line in their heads and will no longer need to draw it out! 

Guided Practice

Rounding is so easy because you can literally throw out ANY number for students to practice with. BUT, if you want something consistent and all the answers figured out for you, I’ve got a set of Rounding Task Cards for you available in print form OR a Digital Google Form (best thing about this is that it self grades for you!) If you want to save 10%, you can pick up both items in this bundle.

I also have these Quick Check Formative Assessments in my store for use with ALL of your Grade 3 NBT Standards.

For more tips, tricks, ideas and FREEBIES specifically geared towards 3rd Grade - be sure to subscribe to my exclusive 3rd Grade Teacher Email List! 

Unit next time! Aloha,