The Worth of a Challenge

If you give a child a fish, you feed him for a day.
If you teach a child to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
But if you teach a child to learn, you feed him for a lifetime
and he doesn't have to just eat fish.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Place Value: made simple!

          We just learned place value to the hundreds and soon will work up to the thousands. But for now, we will be sticking to numbers less than 1,000.

          I knew this was coming and looked into a lot of different ways to teach this math concept. I checked out math u can see. It's a wonderful system, but you have to pay for those pricey math block sets and then you also have the issue of color memorization rather than number. ie. pink + red = ??? rather than the numbers they represent. I looked at the math manipulatives that they sell at the learning store and still, not only do you have to buy a class set, but you also have to pay a small fortune for it. Well, I found a way! I did find at Lakeshore a small student set that is meant as an add on to the class one. It was just a few dollars and had all the pieces we needed.

I purchased the set and went to work putting the concept together. First, you have to have a well established grasp of what 1,10, and 100 are. Once you know your child has that figured out(although most first graders should at this point) you can take your set and brake it down into piles of  1's, 10's and 100's. If you don't have a set, you can print off this 100's grid on colored cardstock and then cut it apart to create the pieces you need.

  1. Show how ten 1's become a 10. If you have more then ten you leave the "extras" in the 1's place. We had lots of fun trying to stack all the ones onto a ten bar. 
  2. Show how ten 10's become 100. Again if you have extras explain that you leave them in the 10's place. We then stacked them onto a 100.
  3. all of the new 100's go in the 100's place. 
  4. count each group and write the number above it.
  5. Say the name of the number reading from left to right. 

I found this was a very easy way to show the meaning behind these big numbers.

We found a great game to review the concept from File Folder Fun. I called out the numbers and my child put the chickens in the right shell.


  1. Finally stopping by from last week's hhm link up! Your idea is awesome. I am working with my children this week on place values....incluing the opposite direction. You have inspired me with some new ideas! Thanks!

  2. Great ideas! I have never heard of file folder fun. Thanks for the great link. :)

    Blessings from the Hip Homeschool Hop,


  3. What fun- My daughter loves doing the activities for finding the values. Happy to have found you through HHH today.

  4. Great Math activities! Simple and fun! I might "borrow" for my 6-year-old the place value mat! Stopping by from Hip Homeschool Hop!