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Teaching Place Value

Teaching place value is one of the hardest concepts to teach to your upper elementary kids and we always have to teach it at the beginning of the year. The kids have just had several months off and are just getting back into a school routine. You don’t know what the kids can do because you just became their teacher.

stressed out teaching place value

If this is you, don’t stress. I’m going to show you several ways to help you teach place value to your students.


You definitely need manipulatives. The first thing I do is use place value manipulatives with the kids so they can see how 10 ones equals 1 ten and how 10 tens equals 1 hundred. Using the manipulatives makes it so much easier for the students to understand how numbers work.

Anchor Chart

Our state standards expect the students to know how to write the number in standard form, expanded form, word form, expanded notation, and pictorial models.  I make an anchor chart that explains the different ways to write numbers.

place value anchor chart

Next, the students make a chart in their interactive notebook to help them remember all the ways to write numbers.  They write on the right side of the notebook, I do it together with the students on my interactive whiteboard while they write it in their notebooks. We talk about each section as we write it down.

teaching place value

Work stations

The students practice with place value in work stations for several days. I have task cards that they do that match the puzzle pieces with the correct expanded form, written form, and expanded form.

place value task cards

Another activity they do in workstations is to come up with a number. They use their interactive notebook that they wrote their example in. On the left side of the notebook I have them write down the ways they can write the numbers. I let them choose which way they would like to write it.

teach place value

This is an easy way to see who is still struggling with the basics of place value. If students are still having difficulties then I can work with them in small group with the concepts they are still struggling with.

Independent work

Finally I give them independent work to see if they have mastered the concept. I have a worksheet and an assessment that I use with them.

place value practice

If you like these activities I have them available in my TPT store. Just click here to check them out.

I hope I have given you some new ideas on how to teach place value. What do you do that works for your students? Leave a comment below and let me know.


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