There are few certainties in the world these days, but one thing I know for sure is that if you teach upper-elementary math, you are going to be teaching place value this year. I also know that if you teach 5th grade, at least one of your students is going to say, “we did this last year.” It’s inevitable because it’s true.
Place value is one of the foundational elements of the Common Core, which means that as we build on it in the classroom year after year, it is also becoming redundant for some learners. Starting in 3rd grade, the term “Use place value understandings to round…” appears word for word in each of the next three grade levels, which means that as they reach the peak of their elementary years, our students are also learning place value for at least the third time. Despite the many years dedicated to this skill, many students will continue to need both direct instruction and review of place value rules and strategies. However, others may need to review and extension instead of basic instruction.
As I think through the needs of 3rd-5th grade learners, I find myself thinking about soft-skills in addition to general mathematical concepts. In the upper-elementary grades, students are building relationships, learning what good collaboration looks like, being given more independence to work with others and on their own tasks, and they are deciding whether or not they enjoy learning. This year, let’s keep the worksheets in the filing cabinet and find place value activities for students that appeal to their unique interests and needs.
Whether you are a new teacher building your supply or a seasoned teacher looking to ‘spice’ things up, these resources may be exactly what you need to upgrade your place value instruction (and review) this year.
Great for an interactive bulletin board or center, the Interactive Place Value Chart is a simple, free resource you can use to get creative with place value in your classroom. You can use the interactive pieces to display the number of the day within your in-person learning environment or use the colorful, large-print interactive pieces during your virtual lessons. Print multiple sets and allow students to interact with them at their own desks or use them on the whiteboard or bulletin board with larger groups.
Virtual Learning Suggestion: Send a printed set of these interactive place value pieces to your students as part of a “Welcome Packet” in your virtual learning environment for them to manipulate at home during class instruction.
Task cards work well in any class because of their multiple uses. Task cards can be used in centers or as cards for a board game. They can be projected for use digitally or assigned to early finishers for extension or review. No matter how you are using them, you will love these 40 MUSTACHE THEMED place value task cards. Available with QR codes or without QR codes, these tasks cards provide students with the opportunity to practice whole number and decimal place value through both straight numbers and word problem examples. The QR codes allow students to use the camera on their iPhone to quickly check their answers making this an awesome option for independent and small group work.
This Jeopardy-style place value review game can be played in several ways. The traditional route includes putting students in up to 6 groups to play as a whole class, but the game can be played by individuals or small groups as well. Students pick questions from the gameboard, and the interactive slides allow the teacher (or student) to click on the question box to reveal the question to the class, once the student or group answers the question, simply click ‘Answer’ to see if they are right.
Take a look at the Game Show Powerpoint Video to see this game in action!
Suggestion for More Engagement: If you want to get more students involved, here is another variation of the game that will allow EVERY student to be engaged and reviewing throughout the activity. First, one group chooses the category and amount, then EVERYONE answers the questions with their groups or on their own and records their answer on a whiteboard or on their paper, then the team whose turn it is shows the teacher their answer and if correct, they are awarded points. If incorrect, any team that has the correct answer can go for the steal and get the points for that question. This variation is an especially good choice when students are first learning place value and need the extra practice!
If you’ve been around my resources before, you are familiar with U-Know Games. U-Know is a fun and engaging card game where students practice topics in a repetitive way. I also use U-Know in math stations throughout the year to spiral concepts for students which makes them a perfect option for place value instruction, review, and extension.
When students first begin working on place value, use the U-Know cards with students in small groups to talk through the answers, as their knowledge expands, teach them the game, and watch as it becomes a self-run review station!
Bell-Ringer Suggestion: As a bell-ringer, place U-Know cards under desks before the beginning of class, once class starts have students remove their cards, group up with someone else who has either the same number, color, or shape, and then work through the questions in pairs.
In addition to the resources highlighted above, Fun in 5th Grade has even more resources available to help students practice and expand on their learning of place value.
In fact, place value is so important that I included place value and a “number of the day” or “decimal of the day” in my math warm-ups. If you want an in-depth look into these math warm-ups for 4th and 5th grade, check out our recent blog post: 180 Days of ‘Done-For-You’ Math Warm-Ups for 4th and 5th Grade.
If you use any of the resources featured in this post in a new or interesting way, share it in the comments so other teachers can learn from your creativity and innovation!