# How Children Learn Number Concepts: Numbers as Hundreds, Tens, & Ones

### Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

#### Place Value | Professional Books

Thanks for joining me for Book Study Mondays!  We are doing a virtual book study of Kathy Richardson’s book, How Children Learn Number Concepts.

Use the links to step through the entire series of posts:

“When children can think of hundreds, tens, and ones flexibly, it is not a big leap to add or subtract.”

While many of the concepts in this chapter mirror those in Chapter 4, Richardson points out that working with numbers to the thousands adds another level of complexity that may be difficult for some kids. At this stage, they have to hold more and more in their head as they work with larger numbers.

A couple of points stood out to me in the introduction to the chapter.  On page 118, Richardson talks again about reorganizing numbers.  Every time I hear that phrase, I like it more.  On page 119 she points out that students should not trade one type of block for another at this stage.  Instead, they should simply reorganize them, for example, grouping 10 tens together to make a hundred.  I found that really interesting since trading is a big part of most place value instruction.  Something to keep in mind.

Fascinating, isn’t it, that the work related to combinations for 10 in Kinder and 1st  is foundational for understanding hundreds and thousands?  It’s critical as students work with larger numbers that they are as fluent with parts of hundreds (30 + 70) and thousands (300 + 700) as they are with 10 (3 + 7).  Very cool.

A final thought–at least three times in this chapter, Richardson mentions that learning place value takes time. I wonder how much time we typically spend on place value in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade, especially in relation to the time spent teaching multi-digit addition and subtraction.  And I wonder how well we make the connection between place value and addition and subtraction.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on what changes you see yourself making in the classroom based on what you’ve read so far.  What were your big ah ha’s?

We’ll wrap up next Monday night with Chapter 6.

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