If you’ve spent much time on my website or follow me on social media, you know that I am passionate about high quality math instruction. I’m a firm believer in balanced instruction with conceptual lessons, problem based learning, and an appropriate amount of skills practice and review. Over the years, I’ve developed third grade and fourth grade math units that reflect those instructional practices to support teachers in their classroom. In addition to those math units, I incorporate math centers into my math instruction. I’m excited to share a complete set of free 3rd grade place value centers with you.
The purpose of this post is to share more information about the place value centers. If you’d like to learn more about the implementation of math centers be sure to check out this post on guided math.
3rd Grade Place Value Centers-Multiplication
Even though the focus of this set of centers is place value, I included a introduction to multiplication activity. In my math centers, I always incorporate at least one, usually three, multiplication activities. I’ve found that students will always need extra multiplication practice. Since this set of centers was designed to be used at the beginning of the school year, this is more of a prep to the concept of multiplication. Students skip count by twos threes, fours, and fives and explore patterns they observe while skip counting. Students use that observation to determine the next five numbers in that skip counting pattern.
3rd Grade Place Value Centers-Task Cards
I’ve also include a set of place value task cards. The task cards focus on the value of numbers as well as the place of numbers. There are also cards for written, numeral, and expanded form. I also tried to include some fairly challenging questions to push students into thinking critically about the size of numbers.
3rd Grade Place Value Centers-Vocabulary
There is a vocabulary center activity where students explain what a word means, facts or characteristics of the word, give examples, and give non examples of the word. I was sure to include value and place, because the two terms always confuse my students. I thought it would also be beneficial for students to know the meaning of comparison, since that is a common word in math instruction that students don’t always understand.
3rd Grade Place Value-Problem Solving
Since problem solving is such a huge component of my classroom, it makes sense that I include problem based learning into my math centers. Since this set of centers will likely be used toward the beginning of the year, I started with a task that would be accessible to students. It takes time to teach students how to problem solve, so I tried to avoid overwhelming students with too much, too soon. P.S. You may notice a little oops in the photo. It was taken before I made the answer key.
3rd Grade Place Value Centers-Math Journal Prompts
It’s essential to have students write about their math understanding. Those goes deeper than constructed response math problems and strategies such as CUBES. Students should write to express their understanding of a variety of math concepts. If students don’t have a lot of experience writing about math, this is hard! You won’t see a ton of success with this until students have the opportunity to learn how to write about math, which you can read about here. In this prompt, students have to circle which word doesn’t belong (value, worth, place, or digit) and write two sentences that explain how the word is different from the other three and two sentences that explain how the other three words are similar. In this activity, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Instead, it’s about students explaining their ideas.
Place Value Math Centers-Error Analysis
Error analysis is a great way to get students to dig a little deeper into math concepts. In this center, I include four error analysis problems where a question or direction is given and a student answers the question incorrectly. Students must identify the mistake and explain why the student likely made the mistake. Then, students solve the problem correctly.
Place Value Math Centers-Number of the Day
My Number of the Day resource is one of my oldest and best selling resources. I love it so much, I decided to add it to my math centers. If you already own it don’t worry! This is just a page from the large (as in huge) resource. I included this, because even though I’m a firm believer in conceptual instruction and problem based learning, I also feel like consistent review is essential for the retention of math skills. This review allows students to practice a huge variety of skills in a unique way.
Place Value Centers-Roll and Review
Students love learning through games, especially games that include some level of choice. In this game students take turns rolling a die. They must solve a problem on the row indicated by their die. The student may select any problem on that row to answer. If they answer correctly, the student shades in their box a certain color. Player Two repeats the steps and shades in their box a different color. At the end of the game, both players total their points. The problems on the first row are worth one point, second row are worth two points, and so on. The player with the most points wins.
Place Value Math Centers-Spiral Review Task Cards
To incorporate a little extra review, I’ve included a set of spiral review task cards. Since this will probably be used at the beginning of the school year, these task cards review second grade math standards. As the year progresses, the level of difficult with increase with the content learned.
Place Value Math Centers-Multi Part Word Problems
I can never, ever get enough multi-part word problems. This is so difficult for students. In this set of centers, I’ve include four multi-part word problems. Each word problem is broken into three parts. I created this cards with an emphasis on place value and rounding. I was also careful to leave plenty of room on the student recording sheet for students to answer by restating the question. When I first started using these centers, I thought that four problems wouldn’t be enough, but I was wrong. It was plenty!
You may use each of the 10 activities, or pick and choose what works for your students and your classroom.
- One option is to use each activity as a stand alone activity. You pick which activities you want to use and you determine where and how you want to use that center. I have included recording sheets for each of the centers.
- Another option is to use the math centers booklet with exactly ten center activities. The math centers booklet will contain the same exact centers as option one. The difference is that you are also using the booklet. This means you can use the booklet in lieu of individual recording sheets.
- Use the math centers booklet with 12 center activities. The difference between this option and the 10 activity option above is that the center activities include two sessions of Xtra Math. This is what I use in my classroom. Since I use each set of centers for three weeks, this version allows my students to complete four activities a week for a total of 12 activities over the course of three weeks.
You can download the third grade place value centers for free here!
In my TpT Store, I have include nine additional sets of math centers. Each set of centers includes 10 activities and follows the same format. This allows you to move forward quickly, without reteaching procedures. The complete set of centers covers all of the third grade math standards. Each set of activities has a primary focus. For example, this particular resource focuses on place value and rounding. However, I have also included review activities in each set of centers to allow students to practice previously taught content.