Flexibility with Place Value

Just a quick post about place value and how important it is for students to be able to decompose numbers by place value in different ways. Here’s what I mean. Typically, we think of 34 as 3 tens and 4 ones. That’s certainly true, but it can also be decomposed as 2 tens and 14 ones. Why is that important? As you can see from the picture below, it’s the fundamental understanding behind subtraction with regrouping!

Kiddos need lots of hands-on practice decomposing numbers in different ways. And when you turn it into a game, it’s oh so much more engaging.

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Today I have a little game called Close to 200. Players roll two dice and create a 2-digit number. They then model that number using base-10 blocks in two different ways. After five rounds, the players add their numbers, and the player with the smallest difference from 200 wins. It’s okay to go over two hundred–202 has a difference of 2 from 200. The twist of strategy in the game makes kiddos have to think carefully when creating their 2-digit numbers. If they roll a 2 and a 5, should they use it as 25 or 52?

Remember that if you are using digital resources, you want to look for resources that provide movable pieces to simulate hands-on learning. For this little game, I’ve provided both a print and digital version. Download your freebie here. There are instructions in the PDF for downloading the Google Slides file. I hope you find these resources useful! Please share this post with others who might be interested.

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