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Do / did your kids have trouble with "place value"?

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One of my kids is finding "place value" difficult to grasp. And I'm finding it difficult to explain.


I don't remember this ever being a difficult topic for me as a kid (but then, I'm not sure it was covered in 1st grade in the old, old days).


Those of you with kids age 6+, is this a tough concept or is my kid just on another planet?


Other than adding dimes and pennies, what are some real-life examples of place value that a six-year-old would understand?

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We use Math U See, but my kids didn't get that at first with the decimal street. Instead I had them count by tens, then by hundreds. Finally the understanding of place value just happened. The visual of exchanging unit-blocks for tens, every time you count past nine, really helped too.


Also building the numbers over and over and over.


"Build 371. How many hundreds? How many tens? How many ones?"


And decoding built numbers.


I think that using base ten blocks works better than something like an abacus or coins because you can see that there is one stick of ten units. With coins, the ten is abstract in that it's the parent telling the child that a dime is worth ten pennies. And an abacus has the same problem--this bead here is worth ten and this one is worth one.


Also down the road, base ten blocks reinforce the idea of base anything including x.

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Watch this video from MUS (scroll down to find the chapter on place value). I think he does a great job making the abstract concept of place value concrete.


I totally agree! I switched my daughter, when she was that age, to MUS. She really "got" decimal street. In fact it drove me a bit crazy after a while because she wanted to play decimal street all the time! However, now that she is in grade 6 I am glad that she solidified place value. I only did MUS with her while learning place value, otherwise we used SIngapore and she was fine with everything else and is still doing Singapore (at home).


Best of luck,

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This set: http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/seo/ca|productSubCat~~p|2534374302176176~~f|/Assortments/Lakeshore/ShopByCategory/mathematics/placevalue.jsp

is my (and my kids') favorite, and it seems to be the most effective thing I've used - bundlled straws just weren't doing it for us. When we're out & about and I want to talk about place value, I remind them of the yellow blocks, the green rods, and the blue squares (we're only up to 100s so far) and thye get it. I also let them play with the set as building blocks, and then I'll pop in and ask questions about how many units are in their building or something. They love playing teach/student with eaxh other using this too.


It's a bit pricey ($30), but it does come with two boards and ppenty of the smaller blocks. My one gripe is that there is only a single 1,000 cube, I really wish there were one more because they seem to have the most trouble going from 1 to 2 in a place.

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I found a wonderful, easily made game to solidify place value. It was created by a mom who uses Math-U-See, but you don't have to use their curriculum to benefit. It works off of the decimal street principle but works much better IMO. All you need are some file folders, construction paper, and few basic supplies you will have on hand(scissors, tape, markers) Place value game

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