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Rounding and estimation

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Scientific calculators are a wonderful invention, but theyre only as good as the people who use them. If you often get an unexpected or ridiculous result when you press the enter button, this free course, Rounding and estimation, is for you. Learn how to do a calculation correctly and get the right answer every time.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • round a given whole number to the nearest 10, 100, 1000 and so on
  • round a decimal number to a given number of decimal places or significant figures
  • use rounded numbers to find rough estimates for calculations
  • use a calculator for decimal calculations involving +, −, × and ÷, giving the answer to a specified accuracy (e.g. decimal places or significant figures) and checking the answer by finding a rough estimate
  • check the answers to calculations by ensuring that the correct calculation has been done, in the correct order.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 5 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 23rd March 2016
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Mathematics Education
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Rounding and estimation


Unit image

For many calculations you use a calculator. The main aim of this course is to help you to do this in a sensible and fruitful way. Using a calculation to solve a problem involves four main stages:

  • Stage 1: working out what calculation you want to do;

  • Stage 2: working out roughly what size of answer to expect from your calculation;

  • Stage 3: carrying out the calculation;

  • Stage 4: interpreting the answer – Does it agree with the rough estimate? Does it make sense in terms of the original problem?

This course focuses on Stages 2 and 4.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in Mathematics [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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