Monday, February 1, 2016

Math Tip Monday: Place Value in Primary Grades

Welcome back to Math Tip Monday! This month, our wonderful teacher bloggers will be focusing on great ideas for teaching place value in the Primary Grades. 

I enjoy using children's literature in my math instruction. It captures my students' attention and provides them with a context for understanding math concepts. Today I thought I'd share with you three great books that I use to teach place value.

How Big is a Million by Anna Milbourne and Serena Riglietti

This adorable story is about a penguin who is on a quest to find out how big a number a million really is. On his journey, he finds a group of 10 fish, a group of 100 penguins, and a group of (about) 1,000 pretty snowflakes. This book provides a great introduction to place value and using place value charts. It's great for comparing numbers and helping students understand estimation. 

Activity ideas:

1) Challenge students to use cubes or other objects to investigate how many groups of ten are in 100. Then, ask them to discover how many groups of 100 are in 1,000. Students who need a challenge can figure out how many 10s would be in 1,000. This is the type of discovery learning that helps students remember concepts.

2) Connect the idea of 10s, 100s, and 1,000s to using a place value chart. Model and practice making different multiples of ten on the chart with base 10 blocks or other manipulatives. If your charts are laminated, have students write the numbers below the blocks after they make them. You can also use sticky notes or number cards to have students write/make the number.

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The King's Commissioners by Aileen Friedman

This amusing story helps teach students the value of grouping objects in order to count accurately. A rather confused King appoints a different royal commissioner to be in charge of every problem in his kingdom. After a while, he begins to wonder how many commissioners he actually has.
He gathers the commissioners together in order to count them, but quickly loses track of how many there are. Luckily, his two Royal Advisers are also counting. One counts by twos, the other by fives. However, the king is quite confused by their methods. His daughter, the Princess, helps out when she has the Royal Organizer arrange the commissioners in rows of ten.  I love the way this book helps students to see that there are different ways of grouping and counting objects, but the result stays the same.

Activity idea:
Have students work in small groups to count a variety of objects. I usually gather between 25 and 100 small objects for each group. We count shells, mini-erasers, beads, beans, and anything else I have on hand.  This is easy to differentiate because I give my struggling math students smaller numbers of objects and my high-flyers greater numbers of objects.  Students work together to count the objects. First, students count by ones. After students have finished, we discuss reasons why counting by ones is not always the best choice. Students then recount the objects, by 2s, 5s, and/or 10s. We then record and discuss the results.  I keep the objects in a math center for additional counting practice as needed.

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens A Math Adventure by Cindy Neuschwander

In this entertaining book, Lady Di of Ameter and her husband, Sir Cumference decide to throw a surprise party to cheer up the king. They invite people from all over the country and a huge crowd shows up. This causes a problem when Lady Di doesn't know how many guests she will need to feed for lunch and dinner. Confusion reigns until Lady Di realizes that putting 10 rows together equals 100. As the crowd grows. the castle workers pitch tents sized to fit up to 9 people, 90 people, 900 people, and 9,000 people. The final page of the book relates the story to Knightly Number Neighborhoods and includes a drawing of a place value chart.  This story really builds the understanding of how numbers work in a base ten system!

Activity ideas:

1) Have students "act out" various pages of the story using base ten blocks and place value mats. 

2) Provide pairs of students with four number cubes (dice). Students take turns rolling the dice and working to create the biggest number.  For example: If a student rolls 5, 2, 6, and 3, he might make the number 6,532. Then the partner rolls. If she rolls 4, 5, 1, and 2, she might make 5,421.  Student A would win the point for this round because he made the greater number.  The student with the most points at the end of the game would win. This game is great for practicing comparing numbers. It can be differentiated for younger grades or struggling students by using 2 or 3 dice instead of 4.  

Do you enjoy using literature in your math instruction? If so, please share any books that you enjoy using in the comment section.  

Don't forget to check out the other great bloggers in this linky for more great ideas for teaching place value!

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