Place Value Activities!

October 24, 2016

As I have been adding lessons to my Math Workshop Curriculum, I wanted to share some of my favorite Place Value Activities for first grade!


In first grade, I like to teach everything HANDS ON. I want my students to build the numbers, feel the numbers, see the numbers. I find that a tricky concept like place value is just so abstract. I like for my students to be able to really get a feel for it through some basic place value games.


Here are a few of my favorite:


Scoop and Group:
This simple idea has students practicing putting items into groups of tens and ones. Students simply scoop a bunch of items and then group them into tens. When they can no longer make a group of 10, the rest go into the leftovers square. Students will then count up how many items they have altogether.


We play this game A LOT in my class because I can always switch out the manipulatives (beans, counting bears, marbles, etc) and I find fun, new scoops and cups to use to help us play!


Race to 50:
This game has been around forever, but it’s really such a perfect, HANDS ON, way for students to continue adding numbers and get an understanding for when a bunch of single units can become a ten. Students simply take turns rolling a die and collecting that many cubes. Once they get to 10 they build a stack of ten before they continue adding. You can play this with base 10 cubes as well and as students get to 10, they trade their 10 units for a 10 rod. I like to play with the above mat so I can quickly walk around and ask students how many they each have and check it.


We also play race to 100 and 120!


What’s My Value Memory:
While my students could identify the tens and ones place, they sometimes had a difficult time identifying the VALUE of the number in each place. They would often see the 4 in 47 as just a 4 and not 40. After a lesson on this exact skill, we play a little memory with these cards. Students have to identify and match the value of the underline digit on each card. After we work on 2 digit numbers, we also start 3 digit numbers! If students are still struggling, have them build each number while they play this game!


You can find all these place value activities and see more by clicking below:


You can also find this unit AND math lessons and activities for the WHOLE YEAR by looking at my first grade math curriculum:


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  • Wow! Thank you for sharing so many quality activities. They have been engaging AND effective for developing number sense, conceptual understanding.

  • The place value activity is a great way to teach the students about place value. I usually use bottle caps or stoppers in this activity. Keep up the great work.