Hands-On Place Value

I like to start the year off with hands-on place value activities, because place value is the foundation for all other math concepts. It’s important to spend time on place value to ensure students are prepared for more challenging concepts.

These place value activities and practice pages can be printed as a booklet and area a great supplement to any math program or curriculum. You can use them for centers, stations, whole group activities, or really anything!

Activity 1-Rounding Riddles

Students solve six rounding riddles that require critical thinking. In the first problem students write a number that rounds to 20. Then, they share whether they could find a different number that rounds to 20. The questions progressively become more challenging.

Activity 2-Rounding on a Number Line

In another activity students create a number line that showed how to round to the nearest hundred.  This is important, because students better understand the concept of rounding through practice on number lines and hundreds charts.  The visual gives students a much better understanding of WHY a number rounds to a particular place.

Activity 3-Forms of Numbers

In this practice activity, students write numbers in standard form and expanded form. This is a good review for numbers through the thousands place.

Activity 4-Make 1,000

In another activity, students use base-ten blocks to find three different ways to build a thousand. They used a combination of ones, tens, and hundreds to do this, and it helped my students to see how ones,  tens, and hundreds relate to each other.  They first used the base-ten blocks to create the number, and then they recorded how they made the number on a recording sheet.

hands on place value

Activity 5-What’s It Between

This is a rounding practice activity that takes a reverse approach to rounding. Students are given a number and determine the two multiples of ten or hundred that number is between. This is an extremely important concept for students.

Activity 6-Roll and Round

In this game students use two dice that had the digits one through nine on them. Students roll the two dice and create the largest number possible with the digits they rolled, and then they rounded the number to the nearest ten.  To add a little conceptual math, students also find the number on a hundreds chart to help them determine where to round the number.

Activity 7-Rounding Practice

In this activity, students complete very basic rounding problems. They will round two and three digit numbers to the nearest ten and nearest hundred.

Activity 8-Place Value Tower

In a different hands-on place value activity, students used base-ten blocks to build a place value tower. The tower had to be free standing, and students had to use exactly 50 base-ten blocks for the tower. After they built it, they used their understanding of place value to determine the total value of their tower. They had to count all of the ones and find the value of the ones. Then, they had to record how many ones they used and the value of the ones on their recording sheet and did the same for the tens, hundreds, and thousands. This was such a huge hit with students! They had so much fun with this activity, and I feel that they were actually learning!
3rd grade place value

Activity 9-Place Value Practice

In the final activity students use place value clues to find a mystery number. This is always great place value practice that encourages critical thinking.
My students loved learning about place value and didn’t want our math time to end! You can get a FREE copy of the place value booklet here! I’ve created booklets for EVERY math standard and placed those booklets  in a bundle, which you can view here. You can find even more hands-on place value lessons here!

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