Easy 3- and 4-Digit Place Value Game - Math Coach's Corner

Easy 3- and 4-Digit Place Value Game

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.

Looking for an easy, yet powerful, 3- and 4-digit place value game? Well, I’ve got something for you today! Build the Biggest is my version of a well-known place value game. Players roll a number cube and must decide where to place each digit in their number, or if they want to discard the digit. Players compare their numbers and the player with the greatest number wins a point.

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This version for 3- and 4-digit numbers is designed for 2nd grade, which is when students are really beginning to form their understandings about our place value structure. Because of that, I highly recommend that students use base-10 blocks to model the numbers as they build them, as you see pictured above. Using the manipulatives helps students develop a deeper understanding, because they not only see the digit, for example, a 5 in the tens place, but they also see the value, 50. Using ten-sided dice with the digits 0-9 allows for a greater range of numbers and also throws a zero into the mix. For the older students, there are also versions for 6 and 9 digits.

As with any game, the best way to introduce this to students is through small group instruction, allowing you to model the types of conversations you want students to have when they play the game independently. It’s important that students use place value language to justify their comparison. For example, “653 is greater than 498, because I have 6 hundreds and you only have 4 hundreds.”

Grab all the downloads (recording sheets and place value charts) here.

2 Comments

  1. Diane

    Hi Donna. I am trying to open the place value mat and recording sheet links and they won’t open. Could you please send them to me? I would love to use this with my 2nd graders this year. Thanks,
    [email protected]

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      I’m sorry you’re having trouble downloading the files. Check your inbox.

      Reply

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