I teach first grade and I could have posted this there, but I'm sure everyone from all level has great ideas and resources. I particulary need center ideas and links to cool ideas. I saw this thing with styrofoam cups, but Im worried that my student would tear them apart within a week, and that's even with going over procedures. I will have a very rough group this year.

I'm a big believer in base ten blocks. Make Base-Ten mats, give them dice, and let them practice the idea of ten units equalling a rod, etc.

Place value is one subject I focus on with my math intervention class---it's a challenge for sure! I made "place value mats" on the large construction paper. The students play "place value top-it" with number "cards" that I printed and laminated. I also use the base-ten rods and units with dice. I have expanded form dice for students to roll and write the numbers in horizontal AND vertical so they can see how to line up the numbers right to left, and be able to read the numbers left to right. I make flash cards in standard, expanded, and written form. I use students to represent the expanded form and the class has to explain why each student represents 1s, 10s, and 100s. I leave the thousands as an extended part of the mini lesson. We talk a LOT about WHY a number is in the 1s, 10s, and 100s. Happy planning!

Thank you early elem teachers for focusing on place value. I believe many, many math difficulties in middle school have their root in a poor number sense and lack of strong place value concepts.

Here's a game. You can make place value mats for the kids to play on. You toss a die and have kids choose where to place the digit. Do 3 times. Winners have made the greatest (or least) number. Make sure they are very familiar with the difference between the terms digit and number. Once they have filled out their place value charts at the end of the game, have them line up in order from least to greatest. Have kids who created the same value team up and practice expanded form then present it to classmates. "We made the number 261 which is 2hundreds plus 6 tens plus 1one." Start with the group that had the greatest digit in the hundreds place and ask how their number differed from the other groups' numbers. There is just sooooo much you do with place value to make it f in. I would also include easy games with rounding, starting with the ones place. Enjoy!

I agree with the above post..."I believe many, many math difficulties in middle school have their root in a poor number sense and lack of strong place value concepts."... Many math difficulties in elementary school seem to be related to this, also. I recall a journal article about how students tend to breeze through math textbook exercises on place value by simply filling in the blanks without realizing why they placed the digits in the blanks. Something I've found helpful, if affordable (they're expensive!), I've appreciated how wooden place value blocks also change in weight along with their value. Plastic units, rods, flats, and cubes all weigh the same. I've always felt the change in weight added to the learning experience--however, the downside is the amount of caution the teacher must exercise. I never experienced this problem, but the extra weight makes them somewhat dangerous if students are careless in their use or if a heavy cube drops on a toe in sandals. (I always had students work on the floor or at a table when using cubes, and I always carefully supervised). If any educational companies are reading this thread, I would really like to see place value blocks that increase in weight, but not so much as to pose a potential hazard. Perhaps blocks made of plastic, or better yet, a foam like material.

We play this in second grade all the time! Kids love it! In addition: * I also have dice that have 1s, 10s, or 100s... * We play explode the code for expanded form, * The game "I have...who has...? * Pick a number and then show that number in as many different way by building the number in blocks, money, expanded form, pictures, etc

And it is so easy to make matching games with cards you print out yourself. Make a batch in one color paper that has the expanded form, and a coordinating batch on another color that has the standard form. Make enough to play in small groups. If I said, "standard form means plain old number" once, I said it a million times .........

I use plastic dip trays from the Dollar Tree. It's one rectangular tray divided into three sections. I labelled each section - Hundreds, Tens, Units. We use those trays for every thing. They are great for Base 10 blocks, Digi blocks and playing cards. We play a game called "1,2,3 Snap!" where I give every one a handful of playing cards - 10s, and face cards removed. The students put their cards in a pile, face down. I say, "1, 2, 3 snap!" and each student flips over a card and selects which value they will give to the card and put it in one of the sections of their place value tray. Once they've laid the card they can't move it again that round. We do this 3 times so each student has created a 3-digit number. Then we see which student has met the pre-determined critera (i.e. highest number, lowest number, an odd number, etc.). I did this game in grade 2 and they loved it. Grade 1s would probably need to play this game in pairs a few times. It easily transfers into a center.