Fortify Place Value Lessons with Fun

By Jasmine

Decimal Street, Decimals, maths, Maths Games, Place Value

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Learning place value is important as it is one of the fundamentals of maths.  As with any new concept, it may be difficult for your students to grasp. The idea that numbers can be deconstructed and reassembled may be challenging at first. Math U See can help make this easier and fun. With the help of Decimal Street, Integer Blocks, a dry erase board, and a few other materials, you and your student are on their way to place value success.

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Activities for Learning Place Value

Assemble a Number

Materials needed:

  • Integer Blocks
  • Decimal Street poster
  • Paper and pencil


This exercise requires 9 unit blocks, 9 ten-blocks, and 9 hundred-blocks.

Note: Reference your student’s current understanding of place value to determine whether to review all numbers (single, double, or triple digit) in one activity or separately.

  • Ask your student to place a mystery amount of unit blocks (0-9), ten-blocks (0-9), and hundred-blocks (0-9) on the Decimal Street™ poster.
  • Once the number is built, have your student write the number on the paper and then say it.
  • Verify the answer is correct and record the number on a sheet of paper.
  • After five numbers have been built, review the record of the numbers that were built and discuss the following:
  • Did your student create more single-, double-, or triple-digit numbers?
  • Which number is the greatest number or the least number?
  • Underline a digit in one of the numbers and then ask your student to tell you the value it represents. (ex., in the number 65 the six represents 60 or six tens.)

Digit Switch

Materials needed:

  • Integer Blocks
  • 0-9 cards (green, blue, and red)


Shuffle each set of cards and place them in three separate stacks facing down.

  • Have your student select one card from the blue stack and the green stack to create a number. For example, he may draw a green 4 and a blue 5 to create the number 54.
  • Have your student build the number with the Integer Blocks and say the number.
  • Next, you select a card from any of the three stacks.
  • If you select a blue or green card, replace the current digit of the same place value with the new card.
  • If you choose a card from the red stack (for example, 7), place that card to the left of the 5 to create the number 754.
  • Have your student build the new number with the Integer Blocks and say the number.
  • Play continues with you and your student exchanging digits to create new numbers to build and say.

Number Recall

Materials needed:

  • Integer Blocks
  • Decimal Street™ poster
  • Dry erase board, marker, and eraser


Sit with your student back-to back, so that you can see the dry erase board and your student cannot. Your student needs to have access to the Integer Blocks and the Decimal Street™ poster.

  • Write a number on the dry erase board that contains up to 3 digits.
  • Read the number aloud to your student.
  • Your student builds the number that he has heard with the Integer Blocks.
  • Next, compare his model with the number on the board and verify it is correct.
  • Switch roles periodically so that your student has the opportunity to be the reader and builder.

Number Redesign

Materials needed:

  • Integer blocks
  • Decimal Street™ poster
  • Dry erase board, marker, and eraser
  • Paper and pencil

Note: This activity reinforces the concept of zero place holders.


  • Write a two-digit number on the dry erase board (for example, 63). Ask your student to build, write, and say the number on the Decimal Street™ poster.
  • Next, tell your student she is going to remodel the number. The new number will always have a zero in it. For example, you might ask her to remodel the number to become 603.
  •  Have your student build, write, and say the new number (603).
  • Discuss how the number changed and how it remained the same. For the given example, the digit 6 moved to the hundreds place, and the 3 remained in the units place and the zero shows that there are no tens. The number still contains the numerals 6 and 3.
  • This activity can be adapted to begin with a 3-digit number. For example, begin with 287 and ask your student to remodel it so it is 280.

Incorporate some fun into your next maths lesson and share some of your favorite maths games in the comments!

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