Place Value Activities

Place Value Practice:   School Day Count Routine

Students need many different activities to develop a conceptual understanding of our base-ten number system.   In the early grades, students often represent the school day or the day of the month by adding another straw each day. Students count the straws and determine if they can make a group or bundle of 10 to move to the tens pocket. Students then write the correct numerals to mark how many single straws (ones) and how many bundles (groups of ten straws) they have. Recording this on a place value chart with the straws helps students develop meaning for place value.   In fact, in classrooms that practice this school day count routine, it is not uncommon to hear students make the unsolicited observation that "tomorrow is a bundle day."

Regrouping ten bundles into one bunch of 100 straws is cause for celebration in a primary classroom. This is clearly an important part of every 100th day celebration.

Read more about morning routines in the primary classroom and how these practices contribute to students' conceptual development of place value.

Place Value Games

Games provide extended place value practice for students and allow them to use their conceptual understanding to develop appropriate strategies to win the game.   The best games encourage students to try out many options in search of the best solution.   This search for the best solution prompts additional practice in a highly-motivational setting.

Place Value Game:

Students use number cards to create the largest number possible.

More Place Value Games

These games provide place-value practice for students as they try to build the largest numbers with the digits they draw:

Who Has? Decks

Who Has? More or Less:   this activity builds on students' conceptual sense of place value as they mentally add or subtract one-digit numbers or multiples of 10.   The deck is designed to provide practice in extended addition and subtraction facts by including these multiples of 10.   The deck could be extended to provide practice for 3- or 4-digit numbers by adding or subtracting multiples of 100 or multiples of 1000.

Who Has? Base Ten: this activity is designed for students in Grades 1-2 to practice place value by associating the base-ten block representation of two-digit numbers with the digits.   This activity is meant to follow and complement the use of the base-ten blocks in mathematical instruction not to replace students' use of these manipulatives.

Downloads:   These PDF files are designed to be printed on 2x4 inch labels (10 to a sheet) which can then be affixed to index cards to create the Who Has? decks:

Problem Solving Tasks

These problems are designed for students in Grades 1-2:

These problems are designed for students in Grades 3-4: