The Place Value Game

We are learning about place value right now (as I suspect many of you are) and I wanted to share a quick little game I played with my students -- The Place Value Game.

I got the idea for this game from my most favorite math resource from Marilyn Burns,A Collection of Math Lessons From Grades 3-6 .  She wrote about it using whole numbers, but since we are dealing with decimals to the thousandths right now, I switched it up. 

The object is simple.  Using a die and a four space game board, the students compete to create the largest number possible.  Each student sets up the board like so:



Then, they take turns rolling the die.  Every roll needs to be placed somewhere on the game board.  They can discard one roll, but that is it.  The students really need to employ a bit of strategy in how they are going to place the numbers in order to create the greatest number.  To push the math vocabulary a bit farther, I required the students to talk through the place values that they were placing the numbers into.








Finally, when the game was done, the students had to compare the two numbers that were created.


What was interesting to me was the thought-processes the students were going through as they were playing the game.  I could really see who had a grasp on what the place values actually meant and who was still confused.  One group of three actually stopped playing before the game was officially done because they understood that no matter what roll would take place, the winner was already decided (because of the placement choices they previously made)  It really was a nice little game.

I concluded the game with them writing a paragraph explaining the best strategy to use in order to win the game.  This provided me with an informal assessment of their place value understanding....so all in all, I think it was successful!

What do you do to drive home the concept of place value to your students?

14 comments

  1. I love this activity, Stephanie! Also wanted you to know that Calendar Math is going very smoothly- I LOVE it!!!
    Elizabeth

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    1. That is SOOOOO good to hear Elizabeth. I know that these things work for *me* but when others say they work for them, it makes me feel like I am not crazy in my shouting it out to the world ;)

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  2. Love this game! My school starts next week. Place value is the first topic. I will remember this.

    http://fifthgradefifthgrade.blogspot.com/

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    1. Glad you could find it useful. My next step is to have the kids do it finding the smallest number. That will be interesting to see.

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    2. This is by far one of the best games out there....I use it for comparing fractions too. I also do the variations of the smallest wins and closest to a half wins.

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  3. I LOVE this. We are moving into decimals next week and will definitely add this to our plans. Thanks!

    Brittany
    Stickers and Stamps

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  4. I use this same game, but we have laminated place value mats (to 100 million) and number tiles in little baggies. I give them one die that they one use ONCE before the game "begins". If they roll any even number, then the objective will be to create the largest number possible. If they roll any odd number, then they have to create the smallest number possible.

    I love the writing piece! We will have to add that to our math journals next week! I moved up to third grade this year, and I have really enjoyed your blog! :) I have a really great foldable lesson for place value... I'll try to do a blog post about it next week.

    Teaching Happily Ever After


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    1. Have a great time in 3rd. I spent 5 years there, and loved every second of it :)

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  5. We play a similar game to this with printed/laminated game boards called Places, Please. The kids love it!
    Erin
    http://adventuresinthirdgrade-brown.blogspot.com/

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  6. LOL, my kids just played this game last week. I made up a little printable for it, but I like the way you did it, too. By the way, I bought your 4th grade spiral math, and it is AMAZING!!!!!! You are awesome!

    Selina

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    1. Thank you so much Selina! I am glad you like it! :) I hope it serves you well :)

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  7. Great idea - I love the paragraph idea as a quick way to see who gets it! Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing this quick and easy game. I love the idea of having to put in the greater than less than symbol once the numbers are formed. What a great idea to have them reflect on how to win the game afterwards.

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