What Are Some Ways to Teach Students Place Value?


Quick Answer

Place value cards, place value people and dry-erase charts are some good activities to teach place value to students in third to fifth grade. These techniques are easily adapted to accommodate groups of various sizes and skill levels, and they require minimal materials and preparation.

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Full Answer

Laminate a set of place value cards with the digits zero through nine for each student, and then call out numbers, such as 43, 892, 3,526 or 23,467. Instruct students to use their cards to create the numbers on their desks, and distribute uncooked macaroni to represent commas. Place value cards are also helpful when students are learning to identify numbers in expanded form.

Place value people is a similar concept, except students are labeled with the digits zero through nine and use themselves to create given numbers. This activity works well with small groups, but it is also effective as an outdoor game played with teams and similar to Red Rover.

Teachers often use place value charts to help students visualize the concept of place value, Draw consecutive squares across the top of a dry-erase board using a permanent marker. Label each square with the appropriate place name, such as ones, tens, hundreds, thousands and so on. Use the marker to divide the bottom portion of the board into four large squares, and label as "standard," "base 10," "word form" and "expanded." Insert numbers into any section of the chart, and let students use dry-erase markers to complete the remaining sections.

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