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# 4 Creative Activities for Reinforcing Place Value

Place value is a key mathematics concept for students to learn. The concept that numbers can be broken apart and put back together gives students a more solid understanding of how different operations work. Knowing when to exchange groups of units (ones) for tens, how to handle a zero in the hundreds place when subtracting, or correctly recording numerals in a quotient, for example, can be confusing for many students. The Math-U-See presentation of place value using Decimal Street and our color-coded pieces for units, tens, and hundreds helps students develop an authentic understanding of place value by helping them construct meaning through visual representations and hands-on practice.

Try supplementing and reinforcing the concept of place value with your Math-U-See curriculum with the following activities:

## Place Value Activities

### Build a Number

Materials:
Integer Blocks
• Decimal Street™ poster
• Paper and pencil

Set up:

Note: Depending on your student’s understanding of place value you may choose to have your student work on single, double, or three-digit numbers at separate times or review them all in one activity session.

• Ask your student to place a mystery amount of unit blocks (0-9), ten-blocks (0-9), and hundred-blocks (0-9) on the Decimal Street™ poster.
• Once the number is built, have your student write the number on the paper and then say it.
• Verify the answer is correct and record the number on a sheet of paper.
• After five numbers have been built, review the record of the numbers that were built and discuss the following:

• Did your student create more single-, double-, or triple-digit numbers?
• Which number is the greatest number or the least number?
• Underline a digit in one of the numbers and then ask your student to tell you the value it represents. (ex., in the number 65 the six represents 60 or six tens.)

### Digit Swap

Materials:
Integer Blocks
• 0-9 cards (green, blue, and red)

Set up:
Shuffle each set of cards and place them in three separate stacks facing down.

• Have your student select one card from the blue stack and the green stack to create a number. For example, he may draw a green 4 and a blue 5 to create the number 54.
• Have your student build the number with the Integer Blocks and say the number.
• Next, you select a card from any of the three stacks.
• If you select a blue or green card, replace the current digit of the same place value with the new card.
• If you choose a card from the red stack (for example, 7), place that card to the left of the 5 to create the number 754.
• Have your student build the new number with the Integer Blocks and say the number.
• Play continues with you and your student exchanging digits to create new numbers to build and say.

### Listen for the Number

Materials:
Integer Blocks
• Decimal Street™ poster
• Dry erase board, marker, and eraser

Set up:
Sit with your student back-to back, so that you can see the dry erase board and your student cannot. Your student needs to have access to the Integer Blocks and the Decimal Street™ poster.

• Write a number on the dry erase board that contains up to 3 digits.
• Your student builds the number that he has heard with the Integer Blocks.
• Next, compare his model with the number on the board and verify it is correct.
• Switch roles periodically so that your student has the opportunity to be the reader and builder.

### Remodel the Number

Materials:
Integer blocks
• Decimal Street™ poster
• Dry erase board, marker, and eraser
• Paper and pencil

Note: This activity reinforces the concept of zero place holders.

• Write a two-digit number on the dry erase board (for example, 63). Ask your student to build, write, and say the number on the Decimal Street™ poster.
• Next, tell your student she is going to remodel the number. The new number will always have a zero in it. For example, you might ask her to remodel the number to become 603.
• Have your student build, write, and say the new number (603).
• Discuss how the number changed and how it remained the same. For the given example, the digit 6 moved to the hundreds place, and the 3 remained in the units place and the zero shows that there are no tens. The number still contains the numerals 6 and 3.
• This activity can be adapted to begin with a 3-digit number. For example, begin with 287 and ask your student to remodel it so it is 280.

Scottie is the Managing Editor at Demme Learning. Scottie is a certified elementary educator with specialties in math and curriculum development. Previously, Scottie taught grades 5-8 in public schools and worked for a local non-profit organization, offering families and students a broad range of family life education programs. As a mother of two, she enjoys spending time with her family, is an outdoor enthusiast, and continues to love teaching and learning.

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