Place value is one of the underlying math skills that can make or break a student. Students NEED a solid understanding of place value to master skills such as addition, subtraction, mental math, and explaining how addition and subtraction work.
In Kindergarten, students start by working with ten frames and understanding that teen numbers are a set of ten and some more ones.
In First Grade, students begin exploring place value deeper by working with 2 digit numbers, naming the positions as ones place and tens place, completing mental math of 10 more and 10 less and using place value as a specific addition/subtraction strategy.
In Second Grade, students are building on Kindergarten and First Grade to begin working with 3 digit numbers by adding the hundreds place. Students will be counting, forming numbers, comparing numbers and using place value to solve more complicated problems.
It is critical that students are able to work fluidly and flexibly with base ten. One of the best ways for students to do this is to play games.
One of my student's favorite games is the Race to 1000 game.
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To begin play, we divide into 2 teams (you could do more). Each team gets a work mat and base ten materials while I collect the big foam die I have! (If you do not have any base ten materials, I have used these fun printable ones!)
The premise of the game is simple. Each team has 6 rolls to build a number that reaches as close to 1000 without going over! If they go over 1000, they lose!
When a team rolls, the look at the number and decide if they are adding ones, tens or hundreds to their number or work mat. After making the decision, they add to their work mat and play goes to the next team. Play continues until each team has made 6 rolls. Teams count their base ten materials and compare numbers!
After students have played in a group for awhile, they love to play in partners.
You can differentiate this game by changing the number that students build. Try going smaller or larger.
You can download the work mat here! After printing the work mat, I recommend laminating or placing in a page protector so students