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What are some ways to use Base Ten Blocks?

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Quick Answer

Base Ten Blocks are a way for students to physically manipulate and visualize place value. One way to use Base Ten Blocks is to exchange a group of 10 units for one rod (representing 10), 10 rods for one flat (representing 100), and 10 flats for one cube (representing 1,000).

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Full Answer

Base Ten Blocks can be used to show a number. A basic place value activity using Base Ten Blocks is to write a number and represent it using various blocks. This activity can be expanded into adding or subtracting numbers to highlight carrying or borrowing.

A popular game amongst younger students is Race For A Flat. Players take turns rolling number cubes and collecting the sum of the cubes in Base Ten Blocks. A player regroups (or trades) her Base Ten Blocks when she has collected more than ten of the smaller manipulative. The goal of the game is to earn a flat, worth 100 units, by regrouping smaller units. For students proficient in addition, start with a flat and subtract the sum of the number cubes for an activity that highlights borrowing. For older students, this game can be played using multiplication, with the goal of earning a cube, worth 1,000 units. In this variation, each student multiplies the numbers rolled and then adds the units she has earned, regrouping as necessary.

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