At the beginning of each year, I always start with place value. When you consider regrouping, multi-digit multiplication, or any dealing with decimals… Place Value is the foundation from which you build upon. So it’s crucial that the foundation is strong, and that any gaps or misunderstandings are identified and corrected quickly. In order for students to have good number sense, they must have a concrete understanding of place value that goes beyond the surface.
According to Sherman, Richardson, and Yard, “Place value is perhaps the most fundamental concept embedded in the elementary and middle school mathematics curriculum.”
When so much is riding on a foundational concept, you could say the activities you use to introduce, explain, or let students explore are just as important. Not to mention these activities are often some of the first that you introduce to your class depending on your curriculum map and it’s important to start the year off “right!”
Below I will share some of my favorite digital and printable activities for teaching place value, as well as a Place Value FREEBIE! Do me a favor, and leave your favorites in the comments!
Keep Reading for Free Mystery Picture Sample
Students work to solve the mystery picture by matching up different Place Value, Rounding, Powers of 10, Number Form…etc Problems. When done correctly the tangram will reveal the mystery picture! These work great as group or partner work, math centers or rotations, Guided Math Groups, Fast Finishers…etc!
These are so much fun! Each puzzle includes both a digital version completed through Google Slides and a printable version. When using the printable version students will cut out the tangram pieces and manipulate the pieces by hand.
Available Place Value Mystery Puzzles:
3rd-4th Grade and Up
- House: Place Value, Rounding, Base Ten Models – 3rd Grade & Up
- Heart: Base Ten Models, Place Value, Expanded Form – 4th Grade & Up
- Rocket: Base Ten Models, Comparison of Numbers (Less Than, Greater Than, Equal To…) Place Value – 4th Grade & Up
- Goose: Place Value, Rounding up to Hundred Thousands – 4th Grade & Up
5th Grade and Up
- Swan: Representing Decimals, Fractions, Place Value, Decimal Models – 5th Grade & Up
- Rabbit: Decimals, Rounding Decimals, Rounding, Place Value – 5th Grade & Up
- Butterfly: Powers of Ten, Exponents, Place Value, Patterns & Relationships, Decimals – 5th Grade & Up
- Whale: Decimals, Word Form, Expanded Form, Comparison of Numbers, Place Value – 5th Grade & Up
Try One for FREE with Your Class!
A Classroom Favorite! This download includes 56 cards, 4 matching cards per set. Each match includes the number represented in decimal form, fraction form, and as a Base 10 Model. I’ve included similar numbers to address the most common mistakes my students make when learning these concepts. We use these cards to play spoons, but you could also use them to play memory, go fish, kemps…etc. These cards could also be used as a review game in math centers, rotations, reteach and enrich…etc.
To say my students loved these cards would be an understatement. You know a “game” is a hit when the students opt to play it as an indoor recess game as opposed to my actual board games! They even continued to play this throughout the year during indoor recess which I loved because it kept everything fresh and made the review of these concepts a BREEZE. I credit these cards and this game to solidifying my student’s understanding of the relationship between models, fractions, and base 10 models. Ask any 5th-grade teacher and this is often a tricky concept for students to master.
***I should note… When we play this card game as Spoons… I changed the name to SILENT Spoons. Meaning, students must play in SILENCE. I have a very little degree of allowance for chaos. Treating this “game” as a privilege and setting the expectations before beginning makes all the difference. Students play in silence until a spoon is taken. The student that took the spoon then must PROVE, their match. If the group agrees, the student gets the win, if not they must discuss as a group where the mismatch took place. Which remember I’ve included cards that look extremely similar to a match, all on purpose. It’s when a student thinks they have a match and doesn’t that leads to the BEST discussion. (Check out the video above and compare the 4 tenths to the 4 hundredths cards for an example of cards that look like they could be matches.)
This is available to purchase in my shop or through Teachers Pay Teachers.
The idea for this activity came from the idea of students having place value anchor charts on their actual desks. I thought it would be fun for students to make their own chart for a digital desk! From there, the Place Value Chart Puzzle Activity came about. I’ve included different templates of this puzzle with moveable pieces so you can differentiate or assign and try multiple versions as a class.
This activity includes 2 really great activities that work together seamlessly, or can stand alone. The first activity is the Place Value Chart Puzzle, and the second is a digital version of my Roll Write Repeat Dice Games (See below for printable version of this activity.)
In the Place Value Chart Puzzle, students work to build a Place Value Chart on their digital desk. To do this students use and move different pieces such as commas, decimals (if using decimal version), place value names, powers of ten…etc. The beauty of actually building the chart. Students are better able to observe and comprehend the relationships taking place. This activity leads to great class discussion. I always ask students to look for patterns, or to take note of things that numbers have in common…etc. This activity also includes a space for students to reflect and respond to what they noticed. Once the chart is completed students then breakdown a number into expanded, word, standard, and base 10 model form.
The second activity is a digital version of my Roll Write Repeat Dice Games (See below for printable version of this activity.) This is a really fun activity. Students use a digital dice embedded in the slide to roll their own unique number! This download includes a template for both decimal and Whole Numbers. Students then break down their unique number into Standard Form, Expanded Form, Word Form, and Base 1o Model. The text is editable so you can customize this to your classroom’s needs.
This product includes the following versions of the Place Value Chart Puzzles:
- Whole Number through Trillions
- Whole Number through Billions
- Whole Number through Millions
The Place Value Puzzle once completed also shows powers of tens. Once students complete the Place Value Chart Puzzle they are then able to complete the Number Form Anchor Chart for their digital desk.
The Follow Up Activity (INCLUDED): Digital Version of Roll Write Repeat ***Uses a Digital Dice for students to demonstrate:
- Standard Form
- Word Form
- Expanded Form (My Pieces use Power of 10, You can have the students type out the expanded form you want them to use if different)
- Base 10 Block / Model Form
- Includes Template for decimal and whole number
This is available to purchase in my shop or through Teachers Pay Teachers.
Another Classroom Favorite! (Digital Version of these activities are also included, see above) Students roll a dice to create their own unique number. Students must then represent that number in expanded, word and standard form. This is great fun and great practice. Students don’t even realize the learning or practice that’s taking place. These printable activities are perfect for math centers, rotations, guided math, or independent practice! Students can challenge each other to roll the largest number, you can even come back as a class, cut out the numbers, and work to order them from least to greatest or vice versa!
This printable dice game is available as:
- Decimal Version
- Whole Number Version
Both are available to purchase in my shop or through Teachers Pay Teachers.
Try this Place Value Activity for FREE with Your Class!
What are your favorite ways to teach Place Value? Comment Below!
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