I'm going to be teaching a class that covers a broad brush of estimation techniques. I intend to cover absolute estimation techniques based on SLOC (e.g. Function Points, COCOMO II etc.) and relativistic ones like T-shirt sizing, story-point estimation etc.
I was wondering what would be some good exercises to conduct in class to help understand the what, why and how of estimation. I hope to pique their interest with actual hands-on examples rather than death by powerpoint.
An example that was suggested by a colleague of mine was to bring a newspaper to class and ask them to estimate the number of words in the paper (for short papers or just a page for long ones). Since they can't absolutely count it, they'll be forced to come up with their own heuristics and they to take the lecture from there to help them gain insights into their own estimation technique.
Although a good example, it doesn't seem to link well with software estimation IMHO. I was wondering what would be some good examples for teaching software estimation w.r.t. size, schedule and effort estimations that they'll encounter in practice. I prefer practical examples that I can actually 'conduct in class' rather than 'just talk about it'.
UPDATE: To throw some more light on the structure of the class - Yes, I'll be covering the aspects of granularity i.e. at the RFP stage what's the best one could do. How can the estimate be refined when more is known about the problem (e.g. FPs after prototyping is done) and how story-points can be useful once you have a list of stories to go by Or how COCOMO like models based on SLOC count can be applied post architecture/design. I.e. narrowing the cone of uncertainty as you progress towards completion of the project. My aim is to elicit examples that the student teams can practice in class to get a better feel for the techniques and understand its ease of use (or difficulty) and the level of accuracy that can be obtained at that level of granularity and knowledge.
PS: If you are downvoting, I'd appreciate a comment highlighting the same. This is not a subjective question and rather non-trivial to teach in a hands-on manner and does have the possibility of selecting the 'best answer'