Place Value Doesn’t Have to be Boring!

Teaching second grade has given me a much better understanding of how second graders are prepared for third grade.  If you examine the Common Core State Standards for Math, you will see that place value is NOT taught directly in third grade.  It is left up to first and second-grade teachers to make sure students learn place value by being able to read and write numbers up to 1,000.

understanding place value

A PLACE VALUE GAME

But teaching and learning place value doesn’t have to be boring!  One thing I notice about second graders compared to third graders is that attention spans are even shorter.  Another thing is that you have to mix up your teaching game to keep them focused and processing the information.  They also love to play games!

 

understanding place value

LET’S PLAY A GAME!

So I made up this game to solidify the concept of ten 10s equaling one hundred.  First I spent about thirty minutes prepping the materials I would need.  Lots of place value rods and flats!  Luckily, out math program gives each teacher plenty of these to use.  They’re also made of foam which eliminates the sound of plastic banging on a desk. First, I put the 10 rods into bundles of ten and put them in snack size plastic bags.  Then, I put all the 100s flats into a basket so they could be handed out.  Finally, just needed one die and my pick sticks (just craft sticks with each students name on a stick).

 

using pick sticks and a die for a game

HERE’S HOW TO PLAY

To play the game, I handed out to each student between 2 – 5 of the 100s flats.  Some students got 2 hundred flats, some 3 hundred flats, some 4 hundred flats and some got 5 hundred flats.  Then I explained to students that I would roll the die.  If I got a four, I want to trade with someone who has 4 hundred.

But to make it random, I would first pick a name from the pick sticks and ask that person, Do you have 40 tens? (that being the amount I wanted to trade with the student).  If the student said no, I would ask why not?  Then I would continue picking names until I found a student who could make the trade:  40 bundles tens for 4 hundred flats.

trading 10 10s for 100 activity to learn place value

But to make it more difficult, I said I needed to ask the student to answer a question before trading. Sneaky me, I also wanted to have the students practice counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s and 100s.  So I might ask the student:  count by 5s starting at 50.  If the student answered correctly, we made a fair trade, and the class received one point.

So it was teacher vs. class for points.  If a student answered incorrectly, the teacher got the point.  Of course, they won!  Adding the random factor (die and pick sticks) kept everyone in the game.  Asking the same type of question Do you have ___ tens? helped reinforce the concept of ten 10s equaling 100.

MATH JOURNAL

Now it was time to transition over to a model.  In my class, we use a composition book as a math journal. However, we call it our Siri Journal.  You know, just like Siri on an iPhone. When you have a math question, ask your Siri math journal!

using a math journal to record place value

In the journal, I had the students make a model for 230.  They drew 23 lines (each line representing 10). Then they grouped the 10s into 100s.  Then we wrote the number in different ways:  23 tens and 2 hundred and 3 tens.  We also did this with 370.

From there it was time for independent practice with the math book.  I’m not a huge fan of our math program, but I did like this particular set of math practice pages!

 

independent practice with place value

SPIRAL REVIEW OF PREVIOUS LEARNING

I’ve also been embedding some spiral review into our daily routine. We do about two Number Talks a week to learn strategies.  We also just practice counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, and hundreds starting from various numbers.  This ability to manipulate numbers in your head (mental math) is probably the most important skill you can teach a primary student.  One of my sons started school after Common Core began, while the other transitioned to the Common Core Standards.  I can see a big difference in how they each handle math.  The one that started with the Common Core uses many flexible strategies to manipulate numbers, while the other one is still relying just on memorization.

 

odd and even puzzles

I also plan spiral review through games and centers.  I have created an entire set of games and centers to use to reinforce the concept of odd and even.  Having taught third grade, it is critical they understand odd and even!  We use the concept of odd and even to find addition and multiplication patterns!

 

odd an even mat

odd and even tablets

 

odd and even game

You can find these centers and games in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  They are part of the Odd and Even Teaching and Learning Bundle.

Odd and Even Teaching and Learning Bundle

 

Understanding place value is key to adding multi-digit numbers.  How about using the Compensation Strategy? Read more about that in this blog post.

What strategies do you use to teach place value?  Please share below!

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Teaching place value in 2nd or 3rd grades doesn't have to be boring. There are lots of activities and games for teaching place value to elementary students. Check out some of the activities and strategies I used to teach place value. #twoboysandadad #math #2ndgrade #3rdgrade #elementary #teaching
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