Can your students identify place value? Place value is the order in which we put digits together. Place value helps us read whole numbers into the thousands, millions, billions, and beyond. Kids start by learning ones and tens, then hundreds and thousands, tens of thousands, and onward.
Place value can be a very abstract idea for many students. Strong visuals and manipulatives can help students grasp these important ideas.
Students should be able to:
- Name the number in the ones (tens, hundreds, etc.) place.
- Write a number if given the numbers in each place (example, 7 in the hundreds place, 5 in the tens place, 2 in the ones place = 752).
- Put numbers in order from smallest to largest (or vice versa).
- Create an extended form of a number (example, 3289 = 3000 + 200 + 80 + 9).
- Write a number one before or after a given number.
Practice place value
Here are three ways you can use to practice place value with students.
Put numbers in order
Create a number card for each student. The numbers should reflect the place values you are working on. (Get a free set of number cards in the hundreds here.) Students will practice putting numbers in order.
- Give each student a number card.
- Call 5 students to the front of the room.
- Have the students stand at the front of the room in order from smallest to largest.
- Call students up 2 at a time and have them add themselves to the correct place in the line.
- Continue until everyone is in the line.
Note whether students can find the correct position based on their number or if they need help.
You can do a similar activity with a worksheet or task card to give students independent practice at school or at home.
Create and write numbers
Have students work in pairs to create and record numbers. Each pair will need a set of number cards, with a single-digit on each (0–9).
- Have students place their number cards face down.
- Ask each student to select 3 cards.
- Then have them use the 3 cards they pick to create and record as many numbers as they can.
- Have them share with their partner and see if their partner can find any numbers they missed.
To use this activity for independent practice, simply give students three numbers and a recording sheet.
Demonstrate what is needed to make a number
Students can work with number blocks for this activity. Alternatively, you can use images of number blocks. You will need several hundreds blocks, tens blocks, and ones blocks.
Give students a number. Have them create the number using the number blocks. For example, if you said 342, students would select 3 hundreds blocks, 4 tens blocks, and 2 ones blocks.
Then have students put the blocks in the right order (hundreds, tens, ones).
You can do a similar activity with images of number blocks on a worksheet or task card.
More place value practice
For more place value practice, I’ve created a set of place value task cards.
Want just the place value task cards? You can get those here.
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