# Place Value

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Can someone point me to a good way to approach teaching place value to a first grader? I don't want to buy a different curriculum - just need a bit of extra help on this one concept.

[When I do a search on 'place value' in WTM I get a huge number of results that look like they have very little to do with place value.]

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Mine found money very helpful as a visual aid to place value. :)

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I think using the base 10 blocks really helped ds with seeing place value. Just play with the blocks for a while, then you can use them with the math. The Miquon books do a good job of making this transition, but it's very do-able with just the play with blocks and then going to numbers.

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The best presentation of place value I've ever seen is a lecture using base 10 blocks by Mr Demme of Math U See. I think it's on the demo DVD (or maybe the demo is online now).

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another vote for base 10 blocks. The visual aid really helped my dd grasp the concept and she even figured out adding with regrouping on her own. Hands down the easiest thing I've taught to her so far.

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My DD is the same age as yours, but we did place value last year. I bought some base 10 blocks and linking cubes off of Ebay and they helped SO much for this. DD could SEE a one block, that 10 of those blocks made a rod, and that 10 of those rods made a block of 100.

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We had unifix cubes that worked well.

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I had great difficulty finding ways to teach my kiddos place values as well. In fact, I wrote a blog post about it! LOL In my post, I linked to a lot of fun online resources that I thought would be helpful. Here's the link if you're interested:

place value

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One thing we did (and are doing with ds4) is to count straws and bundle w/a rubber band every time you get to ten. The bundles are the 10's and the loose straws are the 1's. We add a straw each day, he counts them, and then we talk about the number ("How many 10's? How many 1's?") and then write it. Once 10 straws are bundled, we count by 10's and then count the extra 1's (so if we have 54, we'd count the bundles, "10, 20, 30, 40, 50" and then continue by 1's, "51, 52, 53, 54."

We only go up to 100, but doing this made it so that my older ds had a good handle on it before we even got to a formal math program. It's very visual and tangible.

You could adapt it to add several a day, or even do it as a one-time activity for an older child. Once they get the hang of it, show a number and have them build it with bundles and loose straws, always talking about how many tens and ones you have. You could then extend it by bundling 10 bundles together and showing that it's 100 and then using more bundles to work with numbers +100.

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We used homemade place value "pockets" made from construction paper and used colored slips of paper to represent ones, tens and hundreds. We did a lot of problems with this simple manipulative so she could visualize what's happening. We've also used colored Teddy bear piles and coins.

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Thanks so much, everyone! I'll try some of these things tomorrow and see how it goes. I have been through this with two other kids but this kid has a different learning style altogether.

She goes from barely able to complete a single lesson to insisting on completing three in a day. I joke with my husband (actually only half joking) that I need safety glasses while teaching her - she's that fidgety and impulsive!

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One thing we did (and are doing with ds4) is to count straws and bundle w/a rubber band every time you get to ten. The bundles are the 10's and the loose straws are the 1's. We add a straw each day, he counts them, and then we talk about the number ("How many 10's? How many 1's?") and then write it. Once 10 straws are bundled, we count by 10's and then count the extra 1's (so if we have 54, we'd count the bundles, "10, 20, 30, 40, 50" and then continue by 1's, "51, 52, 53, 54."

We only go up to 100, but doing this made it so that my older ds had a good handle on it before we even got to a formal math program. It's very visual and tangible.

You could adapt it to add several a day, or even do it as a one-time activity for an older child. Once they get the hang of it, show a number and have them build it with bundles and loose straws, always talking about how many tens and ones you have. You could then extend it by bundling 10 bundles together and showing that it's 100 and then using more bundles to work with numbers +100.

We did this but with some modifications. I took two empty cans and labeled them "Ones" and "Tens". I told DDs that the two cans were houses next door to each other. I explained that the "Ones" house could only hold nine people (Straws), and when a tenth wanted to move in...EVERYONE had to pack up and move next door (Tens house.)

We would then bundle all ten straws up and move them to the "Tens" house. Once she got the ones and the tens place down, I had planned to add in the "hundreds" house, but by that time she was comfortable with the concept it was not needed.

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Thanks so much, everyone! I'll try some of these things tomorrow and see how it goes. I have been through this with two other kids but this kid has a different learning style altogether.

She goes from barely able to complete a single lesson to insisting on completing three in a day. I joke with my husband (actually only half joking) that I need safety glasses while teaching her - she's that fidgety and impulsive!

Two things we've done to help teach place value.

1) As others have suggested, use manipulatives. We've used a combination of base-10 flats (100 values) and Cuisenaire Rods (Orange Rods being "Tens" and the other Rods being "Units"), so "numbers" get built physically.

I like the base-10 flats with C Rods better than straight base-10 sets, but opinions may very.

2) What do you call numbers? I've found it most helpful to speak of number values using both their "English names" AND their "math names."

So in addition to 425 being four hundred twenty-five it is also: 4-Hundreds 2-Tens and 5-Units. And we've done this over and over and over. It really helps to identify the value linguistically of each "place."

There is some speculation that part of the reason other cultures (such as Asian cultures) thrive at math is involved in their language. In Asian languages like Japanese and Chinese it is my understanding that the "translation" of 30 would be 3-Tens and not something irregular like "thirty" or even worse "twelve" rather than 1-Ten and 2-Units.

It might seem like nothing to us, but I've seen time and again how useful it has been when my son has claimed some equation is "too hard" how asking him to think of a number as Hundreds, Tens-and Units has made something like multi-digit subtraction seem suddenly quite simple.

Bill

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The best presentation of place value I've ever seen is a lecture using base 10 blocks by Mr Demme of Math U See. I think it's on the demo DVD (or maybe the demo is online now)

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

Please see if there is someone local that has this curriculum (Math-U-See) so you can borrow the DVD so you can see Mr. Demme teach this lesson. It is GENIUS!

Make sure that you also catch the lesson where he teaches time telling, too!

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I like the place value rainbow idea found here. :001_smile:

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Math U See has a great way of teaching place value.

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