# MTE3101 Knowing Numbers

Topic 3

Estimation of Quantities

3.1 Synopsis This topic covers the skill of rounding off real numbers including whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. A definition of standard forms, square roots and surds is also given. Guidelines to enable you to round off numbers and find better estimates are provided to refresh your memory.

3.2 Learning Outcome

• Estimate quantities by rounding off real numbers including whole numbers, fractions and decimals.

3.3 Conceptual Framework

Estimation of quantities

Rounding off numbers: Whole Numbers

Rounding off numbers Fractions Decimals

Standard Forms

Square roots and surds

3.4 Estimation of quantities Estimating is an important mathematical skill and is a very handy tool for everyday life. As such, we need to teach children to estimate amounts of money, lengths of time, distances, and many other physical quantities. Various techniques can be used to estimate quantities using certain guidelines. The process of estimation can take on several forms, ranging from merely making a guess to finding an estimate or approximate answer to a computation, often involving the use of mental mathematics.

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5 Rounding off numbers We often use rounding when estimating. When rounding off numbers. hundredth. Rounding gives an approximation answer There are several rounding techniques that can be used to obtain an estimate. fractions or decimals. Unlike other computational estimation techniques. Rounding is used to make a number easier to work with mentally. when rounding. 3.5. There are certain rules to be followed when rounding numbers. thousands place. It is the bestknown and most useful computational estimation technique taught in schools. For example. you are finding the closest multiple of ten (or one hundred. you can see how rounding a number approximates its value. This method always rounds up numbers ending with a 5. rounding is often applied to an answer as well as to individual numbers before a computation is performed. thousandth. or other decimal place. On the other hand. One disadvantage of this method is
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. 3. Rounding off is a kind of estimating. be it whole numbers. Rounded numbers are only approximate and an exact answer generally cannot be obtained using rounded numbers. or other place value) to your number. hundreds place. and so on. Each technique involves rounding to a particular place.1 Rounding off whole numbers Whole numbers can be rounded to the tens place. we can either round up or round down.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
Rounding is used to replace complicated numbers with simpler numbers.
The most common rounding technique used in schools is the round a 5 up method. On a number line. or (2) to check the reasonableness of an answer. decimal numbers can be rounded to the nearest tenth. There are two important reasons for estimation: (1) to form a reasonable opinion.

4 million.5 million 0. Percentage in ten largest cities =
10. We estimate that the mean population of these population of these cities is 0.3 million and 0. Solution: (a) 6.4 million.3 = 10. If it was one more.4 60
x 100%
= 17 % to the nearest percent.5 + 0.4 + 0. The greatest number that would be rounded to 6 400 000 is 6 449 999.0 million 0. applying the “round a 5 up” to the nearest ten estimate for finding an estimate to the sum of 35 + 45 + 55 + 65 + 75 gives a result that is 25 more than the exact sum of 275. to the nearest hundred thousand. since 40 + 50 + 60 + 70 + 80 = 300 Let us look at the example of rounding to powers of ten below: Example: The population of England is about 60 million. The populations.4 million 0. of the five largest cities are: London Birmingham Liverpool Sheffield Leeds 6. Estimate the percentage of the population of England who live in the ten largest cities.4 + 1 + 0. 6 450 000.
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.4 million is 6 400 000 and has been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
that estimates obtained when several 5’s are involved tend to be on the higher side.4 million 1.35 million. Total millions in ten largest cities = 6.4 + 4 x 0.4 million
(a) What is the greatest population London could have? (b) The tenth largest city is Coventry with a population of 0.5 million. For example.35 + 0.3 million. (b) The sixth to the ninth largest cities must have populations between 0. it would be rounded to 6.

Before rounding off. • • • 0.2 Rounding off fractions and decimals As mentioned earlier. What number will you get when you round 3.7
(iii) If this digit is 5 or greater. Let’s look at the example below.092 45.5489 rounded to the nearest whole number is 7. thousandth.417824 to 2 decimal places? Yes. increase the last digit you are keeping by 1 (round up). (i) (ii) Keep the number of digits asked for after the decimal point. Round the following numbers to the nearest whole number. convert the fractions to decimal form before rounding to
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. There are rules to follow when rounding off numbers to a particular number of decimal places. Follow the steps below to round to a given number of decimal places. look at the next decimal place to the right. when rounding a decimal number to the nearest whole number. we are actually rounding the number to 0 decimal place.985 325.42 . (iv) Discard the unwanted digits away. hundredth. or other decimal places. Example: 6. Try doing the following questions.5. you are right! The answer is 3. Otherwise leave it as it is (round down).
• ¼ • ⅞
(Note: When rounding off fractions. decimal numbers can be rounded to the nearest tenth.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
3. How would you round a given decimal number to the nearest whole number? Can we use the same method as above? Do the same rules apply when you round decimal numbers to the nearest whole number? The rules are the same as above. In other words.

8 9. Example: 9. but it must be reasonably accurate. 2. When rounding off numbers. put on your thinking cap! Decide the degree of accuracy needed for the following situations using the choices provided below.1 X 4. For example: • • An estimate is good enough when calculating the amount of drinks needed for a party. do not round the answer of 2.08 to 2 decimal places. the degree of accuracy can vary. A rough estimate will do. (ii) A builder calculates the amount of wood he needs to buy to build a shed. An important feature of estimation of quantities pertains to how accurate is the estimate obtained.) When estimating quantities. The degree of accuracy of a rounded number depends on the situation and the user’s requirements.
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. the answer should be 22. As accurate as possible. C. Other times an exact answer is needed and an estimate is not sufficient. An estimate is fine. B. A.
(i) A veterinarian uses the mass of a cat to calculate how much medicine to inject. Useful Tip: Never round the number until the final answer is found so that a more accurate answer can be obtained.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
a particular decimal place. we often asked ourselves if our estimate was correct or otherwise. Sometimes an exact answer is not always needed and an estimate is sufficient. Now.64 .64 If we are finding the answer to before multiplying by 4.8. (iv) A reporter calculates the number of people who have attended an Art exhibition last week. Give reasons for your answer.03 instead of 22. (iii) A chef calculates how much flour and sugar are needed for a cake.1
Perform the stated operations first before rounding off the final
product. That is. An exact answer is needed when calculating the amount of dose to be injected to a patient.

Some guidelines for estimating are given below. Guidelines for estimating Look for ‘nice’ numbers that enable you to do the calculation mentally.21 12 x 500 Example: ≈ 3. Thus. 0.75 so 5 x 3 = 15 or 4 x 4 = 16 both give a closer estimate than 5 x 4=20.5 = 15. Example: It is better to estimate . Example: 105. 12.5 as 5 x 3 or 4 x 4 rathan than 5 x 4 since 4.014 should not be approximated as 100 x 0. When dividing two numbers. try to round both numbers up or both numbers down.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
Estimation is an important part of problem solving and involves using common sense to think about the reasonableness of the answers you obtained.001. to ‘estimate’ means ‘to form an opinion or a judgment about’ or to ‘calculate approximately’.
83. since 80 81 10 gives a closer estimate than = 8 9 = 9.5 x 3. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary. Use 0.78 4
=
1500
When multiplying or dividing never approximate a number to 0.86
≈
(100 x 350) ÷ 1
( ≈ means ‘is approximately equal to’ )
Look for numbers that will cancel.2 8.2 80 81 as rather than 8.5 x 3.8 ≈ 200 ÷ 5 rather than 200 ÷ 6 Example: 72.5 8 9 . etc.6 x 0.5 and
= =9. developing estimation skills is an important aspect in the mathematics classroom as they can be applied in our daily lives.46 x 486.05 0. It is better to use 100 x 0.
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. Example: It is better to estimate 4. try to round one up and one down.6 x 347. Example: 200 ÷ 5.01 or 100 x 1 100 When multiplying two numbers.) and
83. which gives an estimate of 1 .79 (2 d.p.1.01 or 0.

this is written as 4×107 m. who work with such numbers. ) 3. In scientific notation. In the example above.000. For example. that is .000. The Earth's circumference is approximately 40. 4000
can be written as 4 × 10³. the Earth’s mass measured in kilograms.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
( Note: There is often more than one possible estimate for an answer. Some examples of measurement in scientific notation are given below:
• •
Therefore.600. 10³ = 1000.
•
You would have noticed that the definition of scientific notation is similar to that of the standard form. so 4 × 10³ = 4000 . instead of the index being positive (e. In short.9736×1024 kg. 1 ≤ x < 10 . the scientific notation is a method of writing numbers in terms of a decimal number between 1 and 10 multiplied by a power of 10. mathematicians and engineers. 10. In scientific notation.g. it will be negative.109 382 2×10-31 kg. written down easily using standard form.6 Standard form The Standard form is a way of writing down very large or very small numbers in a more tidy and convenient manner.99792458×108 m/s . times to the powers of ten). it is a way of
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. However. including 1. In scientific notation. Scientists often work with very large numbers such as distances from the Earth to other planets measured in light years.000. In short.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 910 938 22 kg.973. The scientific notation for a nonzero number is that number written as a power of 10 times another number x. Scientific notation has a number of useful properties and is favoured by scientists. followed by ‘ X 10’ (that is. Hence.592 is written as 1. An electron's mass is about 0. this is written as 5.0592 × 104 in the scientific notation.000. the scientific notation is also known as the Standard form. Small numbers can also be written in standard form.000. such that x is between 1 and 10. this is written as 9. etc. Much larger numbers than the above example can also be
The speed of light in SI units is 2. the index was 3). For example. It is also known as the exponential notation since it involves powers of ten. The rules when writing a number in standard form is that first you write down a number between 1 and 10.000 kg.
•
The Earth's mass is about 5.000 m.000.

let’s look at some examples.000 000 006 1 Scientific notation 3×102 4×103 5.000 005 437
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. Round your answer to 2 decimal places.000 −0. Now. do the following: Write in standard form. The chart below gives some other examples of numbers expressed in scientific notation or standard form.720.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
writing numbers that accommodates values too large or too small to be conveniently written in standard decimal notation.1×10−9
In conclusion. Ordinary decimal notation 300 4.000 001 2 in standard form: 0.19 Example 2 Write 0.000 5.000. • • 7 891 124 0. Example 1 Write 81 900 000 000 000 in standard form: 81 900 000 000 000 = 8.2 Now.72×109 −6. it is important to note that: Numbers in standard form can be rounded to a particular decimal place for a neater presentation.19 × 1013 Note:The answer involves 1013 because the decimal point has been moved 13 places to the left to get the number to be 8.000 001 2 = 1.2 × 10-6 The answer involves 10-6 because the decimal point has been moved 6 places to the right to get the number to be 1.

Divide the two second bits. but this is not in standard form because the first part (that is. Type in the power to which the 10 is risen. Explore on your own.0 x 104 . (8 ÷ 5) × (105 ÷ 10-2) = 1.
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. it should be written as 4 × 104 or 4. Have fun! Manipulation in Standard Form This is best explained with an example: Example If the values of p and q are 8 × 105 and 5 × 10-2 respectively.6 × 107
Now try these: Compute and give your answers in standard form. On a calculator. Press EXP .MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
•
.124 809
Well done! Fun with calculators! A calculator can also be used easily to help you to write very large or very small numbers in standard form. 40) should bewritten as a number between 1 and 10. Give your answers in standard form. Solution (i) Multiply the two first bits of the numbers together and the two second bits together: 8 × 5 × 105 × 10-2 = 40 × 103 (Remember : 105 × 10-2 = 103) The question asks for the answer to be in standard form. Round your answers to 2 decimal places. (ii) p ÷ q. you usually enter a number in standard form as follows: Type in the first number (the one between 1 and 10). divide the two first bits of the standard forms. that is. calculate (i) p x q . (ii) This time.

by itself you get 9. we can make an estimate by guessing that the answer should be between 3 and 4. the square root of 9 is 3. it is sort of like a tick. because when 3 is multiplied A better understanding of what a square root is can be derived by
using the following analogy. and actually started hundreds of years ago as a dot with a flick upwards.5 = 12. but it is really hard to work out other square roots. and the root is "3". but what is the root that produced it?" In this case the tree is "9". This is read as "the square root of 9
Let's try 3. and always makes mathematics look important! For example. The Square Root Symbol This is the special symbol that means "square root".
• •
. For example.5 × 3.25 Let's try 3.7 Square roots and surds The square root of a number is that special value that when multiplied by itself gives the original number.2 = 10.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
•
67 X 1289
•
8942 ÷ 0. For example.2: 3. what is the square root of 10? Solution: Since 3 × 3 = 9 and 4 × 4 = 16. Square Roots of Other Numbers It is easy to work out the square root of a perfect square.24
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. you can use it like this: equals 3" . The symbol below is used to denote the square root.2 × 3. For example.
Note: When you see "root" think "I know the tree.5: 3. Working further to arrive at the answer can be a slow and laborious process. It is called the radical.127
3.

thus. they are numbers that are left in 'square root form' (or 'cube root form' etc). say 3 decimal places or more. Based on the above figure. etc. in this case. this is a very clumsy way of writing them.1: 3. it is not a surd. can give you a clearer picture of what surds are.162 . it can be rounded to a particular place. even the calculator's answer is only an approximation ! To make the answer simpler. √2 (square root of 2) cannot be simplified further so it is a surd but √4 (square root of 4) can be simplified (it equals 2).4142135(etc) 1.61
From the above.1622776601683793319988935444327 However.1 and 3.15 . rounding to the nearest whole number always turns out too low. We can also estimate the values of surds. Have a look at these:
Number Simplifed As a Decimal Surd or not?
The chart below
√2 √3
√2 √3
1. Thus. Can you round the square root of ten to 2 decimal places or 1 decimal place? What happens if we round it to the nearest whole number? The answer will be 3 which is actually the square root of 9 and not 10. what is √10 in standard form rounded to 3 decimal places? Right! It is 3. the digits just go on and on. For example. A good and reasonable estimate will be approximately 3. we will get an estimate which is way too low and is therefore not accurate or exact. Surds are numbers that cannot be simplified to remove a square root (or cube root.1 = 9.1 × 3. Thus.2 . In other words. Checking out the answer with a calculator gives the following answer: 3. Thus.).MTE3101 Knowing Numbers •
Let's try 3. without any pattern. The answers for square roots of numbers which are not perfect squares are usually rounded off to either two decimal places or more. we should be able to guess that the answer lies between 3.7320508(etc)
Surd Surd
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. The reason we leave them as surds is because in decimal form they would go on forever and thus.

Example: Estimate the value of √29. but it is now used for a root that is irrational. called irrational numbers "'inaudible".5 2. go through the following example. Solution Since √29 is between √25 = 5 and √36 = 6 so the value of √29 is between 5 and 6. the Persian mathematician. from whom we got the name "Algorithm".D.2457309(etc)
Not a surd Not a surd Surd Not a surd Surd
√(11) √(27) √(3)
√(11) 3 √(3)
5
5
As you can see. al-Khwarizmi. Remember: NOT ALL roots are surds! Now. the surds have a decimal which goes on forever without repeating.2239800(etc) 3 1. This was later translated to the Latin surdus ("deaf" or "mute"). • • √37 √230
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.. "Surd" used to be another name for "Irrational". then it is a surd. As a matter of fact.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
√4 √(1/4)
3 3
2 1/2
3
2 0. Try this: Give an estimate for the surds given below? Check your answers with a calculator and round off to 2 decimal places. and that makes them Irrational numbers. Parting shot: If it is a root and is irrational. Point of Interest: Do you know the origin of the word "Surd" ? Around 820 A.

et al. New national framework mathematics.0078 √0. Rounding numbers:
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.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
• •
√0.
Congratulations! You have now come to the end of this module. Happy Studying and Good Luck!
References
Tipler.
2. ( pp. J. M. (2003). 67 Do related exercises from Exercise 6 on pp. Do the exercises obtained. Ordering and Rounding” in Tipler. (2003). 69 – 72. New national framework mathematics. 26 – 33 and 67–72.) • • Complete the tasks on pp. United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes Limited.01 569
Things to do: 1.
Websites on: 1. et al. M. 29 and pp. Refer to your Resource Materials and read the notes on “Place value. Search for more exercises on the estimation of quantities from other sources such as internet or books. J.

enchantedlearning.com/math/rounding/ 2.com/square-root.com/school/subject1/lessons/S1U1L3GL. Square roots and surds: http://www.html# GCSE Maths/www.mathsisfun. Estimating and rounding decimals: http://www.math.mathsrevision.html?page=43 ? 3.net/gcse/pages324e.MTE3101 Knowing Numbers
http://www.html
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