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Place Value Activities for Upper Elementary

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Upper Elementary Place Value Activities | free and inexpensive options | digital and hands on ideas

Teaching place value is often the first unit of the new school year. Sometimes it feels like an easy concept, but many students rely on this unit to get their learning off to a good start. Use these activities to develop your ultimate place value unit for your 4th or 5th grade math class.

Place Value Materials for your Classroom

Let’s start with the classroom environment. How can you make sure that even your classroom can be conducive to teaching about place value? Make manipulatives a focus in your classroom.

This bulletin board helps student really see what happens when you multiply or divide by ten. It also makes see the scale that differentiate hundreds from hundredths very noticeable. You can find out more about creating this bulletin board for your classroom on the post The Ultimate Hands On Place Value Anchor Chart.

Place value bulletin board

It is important to have your hands on manipulatives available for your students. Do you have your manipulatives available for students to grab easily while they are working independently? Some of the most essential manipulative for place value can also be the simplest. Having base ten blocks is essential, but if you don’t have enough, you can always use virtual manipulatives. Besides base ten blocks, using money models are very useful for students studying whole number and decimal place value. What better way to make sure students understand the difference between tens and tenths than by showing the value of $10 and a dime.

Place value discs are also a common manipulative that bridges between the more concrete base ten blocks and symbolic thinking. You can even have students create their own using snap cubes and a dry erase marker to label them!

Child using base 10 blocks and virtual manipulatives

Interactive Notebooks and Lessons Materials

Now that your classroom is set up for place value success, let’s look at materials to help make your mini-lessons and small group time impactful. Teaching lessons using a guided notetaking approach can be very helpful for students. Not only do they learn a lot during direct instruction, having notes makes reviewing easier.

When you are creating guided notes with your students, you want them to spend the majority of time doing the math. Let’s not waste our time cutting, folding, and writing tediously. Let’s focus on learning about math vocabulary, problem solving, and understanding.

Mini books are the perfect balance of notes and hands-on teaching. You can create your own by simply folding a paper in half to create a little booklet. Add in the text you want your students to have in place, some examples, and some problem solving.

If you do not want to create your own, or simply do not have the time, check out these place value mini books:

Place value mini books

Another easy to use help for teaching place value are these digital activity mats. These are an excellent tool to use with your interactive white board in class. You can also use them as a digital manipulative to share with your students online. Then your students can use the digital mat to show their work.

Grab your own set of these digital activity mats at the bottom on this blog post!

Place value digital work mats

Place Value Games and Activities

Keep your students’ learning going past the initial instruction with engaging place value activities. Use games and activities to keep your math centers fresh. You can also use these in your small group to extend learning or review.

This free place value game will have your students having so much fun that they will not realize that they are learning one of the most difficult place value concepts. This game teaches students about multiplying and dividing by 10 as a part of base 10 system.

Free place value game

A self-checking center makes a great way for your students to develop confidence in their skills. This problem solving set is a take on “I Have, Who Has” games. It can be done with a small group or individually. The best part, students only reach the finish “block” if they have built all the other blocks in order!

Place value problem solving activity

Task Cards and Assessments

Formative assessments are essential to make sure that your students are learning. The great thing about formative assessments is that they don’t have to be just a quiz! This free set of place value speaking prompts are a great tool to use with Flipgrid, Seesaw, or any other voice recording app. Let your students tell you what they know instead of just circling answers. A rubric is even included for you to use!

Place value speaking prompts

Editable task cards sets are a great addition to your assessment toolbox. The 20 Questions task card sets includes twenty (of course!) editable task cards. You can use them in a center, but you can also use them to create exit tickets. Also, because the text is completely editable, you can copy and paste the questions to make your own custom quizzes and tests.

Place value editable task cards

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