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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ATH0008
Author: Katherine Beal; Kit Carson SGC, Las Vegas, NV Date: 1994

Grade Level(s): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


  • Mathematics/Arithmetic


This activity’s blend of skill and chance becomes a highly motivating vehicle to enhance students’ understanding of the concept of place value. Time required can be as little as five minutes thereby providing instruction during those lost minutes throughout the day.


To provide students highly motivating drill and practice with place value via application.


Students will be able to explain that the value of a number increases when digits farthest to the left have greatest value.


  • Teacher made number cards, one for each digit, 0 – 9.
  • Scratch paper and crayons for each student. (If you use pencil, some students may not be able to resist the urge to change number positions during the game.)
  • Reward for winners.

  • Predetermine the number of digits in the mystery number. Begin with three digit numbers and increase number of digits as student skill increases.
  • On scratch paper, have students draw lines so that there are the same number of lines as digits: _______ _______ _______
  • Shuffle deck of number cards.
  • Select first card, students must write this digit on any one of the lines.
  • Continue this process until all lines have been filled in.
  • Select a student to arrange all the selected number cards from greatest to least.
  • All students having this number declare, I AM THE GREATEST
  • Award all the GREATEST students with reward.
  • Reshuffle the number cards and repeat the game.

    As students become more proficient add digits to the mystery number. Eventually older students could use a double deck of number cards. Because of the element of chance, even your lower math students will sometimes have the opportunity to declare, I AM THE GREATEST!

    May 1994 These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.