Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teaching Place Value

Just finished my place value unit.  There are always some young learners for whom place value is a huge mystery.  Over the years, I've written and re-written activities and practice worksheets.  After teaching, assessing, re-teaching, re-assessing, I think they've finally got it.  Undoubtedly, these concepts will need to be re-visited throughout the year.  Having a firm grasp of the base ten system is so fundamental to most other math concepts.  We (my third grade team) recently purchased 3-D place value blocks.  The more manipulatives, the better, right?  The hands-on activities were fun and provided a different approach to practicing a basic skill.  And, for some kids, the manipulatives provided the ah-hah moment. 

Something else I added to my unit this year was the book Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens.  I got thirty copies for thirty dollars through a special offer in the September Lucky Book Club.

Here's an activity we did to reinforce the idea that a number can be respresented in different ways.  Kids make a kite with four sections.  In one section they write the standard form of any number they choose.  In a second section, they write expanded form of the same number.  The third section is where they write the word name for the number, and in the fourth section, they draw (or paste on) place value models representing the number.  They then decorate the kites, and we attach string and tails.  This make a fun and attractive hall or bulletin board display with a title like "Flying High with Place Value".
The activity that I used with the place value manipulatives is available free on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I also have a full-blown place value unit that can stand alone or be used to supplement a textbook chapter.  Also, check out the place value games offered in my store.  All of these are written for teaching about four-digit numbers.  Happy teaching!