On a piece of copy or notebook paper draw lines on a rectangular figure as illustrated in the attached sample.
Each box represents a place for place value up to 10,000. Do this on both sides, label one side with the name of the place value (e.g., from left to right: 10-thousands, thousands, hundreds, tens, ones) and leave the other side without the place names. Children can practice placing markers on the correct place as a number and place value are called out loud. This activity is easier for students when they have the names of the place to look at. Numbers can start small and get larger. You might make up problems that you can say out loud and your child can solve in his/her head. Then the child can place the digits f the answer in the correct place, if you have cards with the digits 0-9 on them, or can place a marker to show the place that each digit would fit (This is called “mental math.”) For example, you could say, “9 + 5” and the child would say “14, and the 1 is in the tens place so I’ll put the one here (second space from the right) and I’ll put the 4 here (first space from the right.”
Children can also place a particular number of markers in the correct place to identify a mystery number that you make up and clue the student, by saying, “I’m thinking of a number and the 3 in this number is in the 100s place, the 4 of my number is in the ones place and there is a 7 in the tens place. What’s my number? (374)
A number can be given to a group of the child’s friends to wear around the neck and then a larger number made up of those numbers can be called out. The children must then get in line order to make that number. If you do not have enough learners to play the game this way (you need 5 digits for the largest numbers your child will work with in this unit) you can give each child more cards to hold instead of wearing numbers.
Manipulatives can be used to show children the concept of place value by having them move a group of objects from one place to the next when adding one more to nine. For example, you might collect 5 egg cartons and cut/tape them so that you have 9 little sections in each one (just cut 3 sections of the carton out). You could use the Place Value Mat that you made in Learning Tip 1 and place one of your 9-section cartons on each. Find items around the house that will fit in the carton segments, but are different enough to give them “names.” You will only need 10 of each. For example, a brown button could be one, you could agree that a green button would be named “ten” and it would take 10 brown ones to be worth one green one. Allow your child to count 9 brown buttons into the 9 sections of the “ones” place carton, but stop him/her before the tenth is counted in. You are out of empty segments; with the tenth one, you must come to the “bank” and exchange your 10 brown ones for one green button. This green button goes in a “tens” carton-segment. And we write the number 10, which says that we have one segment of our 10s-carton filled, and nothing in the ones carton, which is written as “0”. Continue, building bigger and bigger numbers.
Allow children to use a limited number of manipulatives and challenge them to represent large numbers on the tabletop. For example, tell them a number such as 2,345. They cannot count out 2,345 colored gems, but they can count out five red gems, four blue gems, three green gems and two yellow gems and place them in the correct order on the desk or place them in the egg-carton place-holder that you made in (4) above.
Help your child make a Place Holder Mat on the floor or outside where you could mark out the spaces with chalk. Use larger pieces of paper (perhaps sheets of newspaper) or mark with chalk to represent large spaces. Think of a number and write it down so you won’t forget! (Start with smaller numbers and move to larger ones as your child gains confidence in his/her ability to play the game.) Give your child a beanbag or something similar and challenge your child to toss the bag into a specific space. Remember that the first space, reading from the RIGHT, is “ones,” the next one to the left is “tens” and the next one, still moving left, is called “hundreds;” the next to the left is “thousands,” and the final one, at the far left, is named “ten-thousands.” If the child is successful in tossing the beanbag into the correct space, use a marker of some sort to note that so you can use the beanbag again. Then call out the square that the child should try to hit. For example, if your number is 136, you will, sometime during that round of the game (completing one of your numbers is a “round”) you will call out “beanbag in the ones space!” 6 times, but not necessarily all in a row. You will call out “beanbag in the tens space” three times during the round, and you’ll call out “beanbag in the hundreds space!” only once. You won’t call the other 2 spaces at all since in the number 136 there is no digit in the thousands or ten-thousands space. Remember to place a mark on the paper in the space your child hit before you pick up the bean bag so that your child can see how many times that space has been used. You can play the game in another way by allowing your child to hit a space at random (but no more than 9 times since the highest number that can go in the space is 9) and then tell you what number was made.
Make or buy spinners for children to use. Have the child spin the spinner twice for a two-digit number, three times for a four-digit, etc. Children can then do many activities, such as order the numbers from least to greatest, greatest to least, round the numbers to the specified place value or compare them using the <, >,= symbols.
Have children use base ten blocks (can be bought at a teacher-supply store) to model the value of numbers. For example, for the number 835 students would pull out 8 hundred flats, 3 ten sticks and 5 ones cubes.