Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Time for Place Value!

It's that time of year again! Place value is one of the many reasons I LOVE teaching math. It is critical that our students gain a firm foundation of place value number sense in their early elementary years. I believe its the "magic key" that unlocks the true meaning of any number!

So what activities do you create that allow your students to discover and explore the power of place value? I'd like to share a few of my favorite place value activities with you!

Place Value Blocks
Just about every classroom teaching place value will use a set of these manipulatives to represent the ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands.  Visually they're easy for students to understand, as it is easy to see that the values of each block increases by ten.

To ensure your students are working on mastering the place value concept ( and not mastering the manipulative), mix it up a bit! Use something different to represent the tens, like a crayon perhaps. Use a post it note to represent a hundred's block. It is important students see that the place value system works, no matter what tool I use to represent the various amounts.

Stacking Cups
Stacking cups together is another great way to represent place value! Each cup represents one place value. Turn the cups to create different numbers in standard form. Create the expanded form of a number by pulling the cups apart!
Place Value Cups, Standard 

Place Value Cups, Expanded

 Place Value Cards
This is a set of cards I created a few years ago for my students. Each value possible is represented
(0-9, 0-90, 0-900). To create a number, students stack the cards on top of one another. This is a great way for students to see that the "7" really has a value of "70," as the value is revealed when we pull the cards apart and find the expanded form and value.  Click here to get a set for your own classroom!

Review, Review, Review!
Students need LOTS of opportunities for practice! That's why I've created so many place value centers, games, and class activities on place value!  My latest game, called "The Powerful Place Value" board game, gets students thinking about the value of various digits, standard and expanded form, and working as a team to complete "team challenge" tasks! I tested this new game out with a local group of second graders, and it was a major hit! Get your own 1st grade game board here  and a 2nd grade edition here!
The Powerful Place Value Board Game, Gr. 2 edition

Need Place Value Activities?

Check out my Place Value Games and Centers Bundle Pack !
** All place value activities mentioned in this blog article are on sale now through the end of September!

So how do you teach place value? Please take a moment to share your strategies with us!

Best wishes,


  1. Hi, great idea with the stacking cups!

  2. Thanks Holly Rachel! It was a great visual for my kids!