It’s often difficult for students to make the connection between the numbers 0-9 and place value. At first, children learn to count and everything has a single value, i.e. 6 race cars. But eventually, as they build on that knowledge and begin to consider larger numbers, they must understand place value. Then, suddenly, they can have 6 tens or 6 hundreds and it’s not simply the number 6, but a much larger value.
One way I have begun to teach my daughter to make sense of numbers this way is by using base 10 blocks to build the number, write the number, and say the number. We have also used the “number street” from Math-U-See.
Another way students can build on this number sense is by writing numbers in expanded form, i.e. 435 can be written as 400 + 30 + 5. This will help students to understand place value, and not just see them as individual numbers.
In order to help my daughter make the connection between these three forms (a number, the blocks and the expanded form) and understand that they are equivalent representations of the same number, I have created the following set of puzzles:
There are a couple different ways you could utilize these puzzles. One would be to print them on card stock, laminate and then cut out to use over and over throughout the year. Another way to use them is to cut them out and then, once your child has completed the puzzles correctly, glue them to construction paper and hang as posters for a visual reminder of the different forms.
However you decide to incorporate them into your classroom or homeschool, I hope you will find them useful!
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