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Lesson Plan #: AELP-ATH0033
Submitted by: Laura Mecholsky
Email: mechl6l0.numan@elon.edu
School/University/Affiliation: Elon College
Endorsed by: Deborah Thurlow
             Elon College Date: May 10, 1999

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


  • Mathematics/Arithmetic

Duration: Two 75-minute sessions Description: This lesson uses children’s literature, place value puzzles, and games to teach place value in a fun and interesting way. This lesson consists of two parts:
Part I – Place Value of Digits in a multi-digit numeral and
Part II – A Human Place Value


  • Use models to explain how the number system is based on 10 and identify the place value of each digit in a multi-digit numeral.
  • Use models and pictures to demonstrate the value of decimal numerals with tenths and hundredths; show decimals as an extension of the base 10 system.
  • Objectives: Students will be able to: 1) identify digits in the tenths and hundredths place
    2) name the value of digits in a multi-digit numeral

    one sock per student
    book One Grain of Rice
    Place Value Paper plate


    1. Read One Grain of Rice stopping at various times to ask questions about the number values in increasing amounts of rice. Example: On the ninth day, Rani was presented with 256 grains of rice. Stop and ask the student s to write the number and then underline the digit in ones place.

    2. After students write on their chalkboard the answer 6, have students discuss with a neighbor a definition for the ones place. If having trouble, give a hint that the ones place is located how many places and in what direction from the decimal.

    3. After students have a definition, write a decimal on the board and next to it write ones .

    4. Read the next sentence in the book, She had received 511 grains of rice, only enough for a handful. Ask the students to write this number on the chalkboard and underline the digit in the tens place. After students show on chalkboards, turn to their neighbor and discuss a definition for the location of the tens place. Ask students to share their definitions. Write on the board where it is placed.

    5. Continue with numbers throughout the book.

    6. After reading the story, review the chart that has developed throughout the story. Give students additional numbers and ask specific place value questions but also ask students to give how much the digit is worth.

    Teacher does first example, If I were to give you the number 12,965 and ask you to underline the digit in the thousands place, you would underline…(2) and below it write the value of that number (2000).

    Additional Problems:

    1. 965 9 900
    2. 2143 3 3
    3. 6400 6 6000
    4. 36 3 30
    5. 569,230 5 500,000
    6. 172,411 7 70,000

    PART 2

    Human Place Value Game

    1. Explain to the students that now we are going to play, a game using place value.
    Pass out one card to each student:

    There will be 9 numbers for the hundredths digit = blue
    There will be 9 numbers for the tenths digit = red
    There will be 9 numbers for the ones digit green.

    2. Instruct the students with a red 7, a blue 3, and a green 9 to come to the front of the room. 3. Instruct them to make the largest number possible with their numbers (teacher acts as the human decimal. (9.73)

    4. Explain that students need to listen very carefully because they’ll be doing an activity where their number may be needed to solve the problem.

    Give examples: Change this number so there is a 4 in the tenths place. The child who has the red four goes to the front of the classroom and the student wit the red seven sits down.

    5. Explain to the students that we are going to try a few practice problems so we can get the hang of it.

    Give examples: At front of room now: 9.43
    Change this number so there is an 8 in the hundredths place. (9.48)

    6. Have students turn to their partner and discuss a working definition for the hundredths place.

    7. Change this number so there us a 1 in the tenths place.

    8. Give students one last example. Change this number so there is 5 in the ones place.

    Begin with the game:

    1. Change this number so there is a 2 in the hundredths place.
    2. Change this number so there is an 8 in the tenths place.
    3. Change this number so there is a 6 in the ones.
    4. Change this number so there is a 3 in the ones place and a 9 in the hundredths place.
    5. Change this number so a 4 in the tenths place.
    6. Change this number so that the number that is in the tenths place appears in the hundredths and ones place.
    7. Make your own problems to get all the children to the front of the room.
    8. Make them harder or easier by adding addition and subtraction. Example: This number plus 1.
    9. Create problems to meet needs of the class.

    Assessment: While playing place value game, every student has at least one answer to the problem.

    Special Comments: This lesson is the result of work completed in the math and science methods for elementary teachers at Elon College. Lessons were prepared for and implemented in 4th grade classrooms, at Haw River Elementary School, Haw River N.C. Human Place Value game taken from Lola J. May Mathematics consultant Winnetka Public Schools, Winnetka, Illinois, Workshop Materials