Updated: Apr 20
If you have been teaching very long, you already know that the majority of students struggle with place value. It is a very hard concept for kids to grasp, but oh so important. This is something that will continue to follow them, and if they don't understand place value, they will struggle the further they go.
So...how do you teach place value to kids who are struggling with it? Simple...repetition.
If you read many of my blogs, you will find this is a theme with basically everything. It takes time and practice for kids to MASTER anything.
Please take note of the word MASTER. I don't teach to proficiency, I teach to mastery. (This is a soap box for me, and I don't have time to get into that here. So, if you are interested in understanding why mastery is so important, head over to my article Teaching Masters.)
Unfortunately, for the majority of students our society has adopted the idea that everything should be immediate. We have absolutely no patience, and this impatience has made it's way into curriculum.
Curriculum is set up in units that typically last for one or two weeks. Once we are done with the unit, we move on to other information, many times never reviewing what students were just taught.
Kids just cannot MASTER skills with this brief approach. We have to let them practice. So, here, I am going to explain one of the activities I use for students to practice place value.
One of the things I love about Base Tens Board Games is that you can change it to match any theme...simply change the game pieces. As you can tell in the pictures below, we were in the midst of our Dinosaur Theme.
I created games on 6 levels (1-10, 1-20, 1-30, 1-100, 1-120, 1-500) to work with grades pk-2. It's really very simple: roll a die, move that number of spaces, represent the number you land on with base tens (we were using linking cubes in the picture below), and the next person goes.
The kids love it (especially getting to check each others work). It just takes a few minutes. And it is perfect for an independent center.
This is a great way to let kids practice place value without it being really time consuming or heavily involved for you.
For ideas on how to review place value on a daily basis, check out my article Daily Morning Group.