Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Place Value Activities for Kids

We did two hands-on activities to gain a better understanding of place value.

While beginning the study of decimals, my son was asked to do some rounding. This proved very difficult for him mainly because he had difficulty understanding the meaning of place value on the right-hand side of the decimal point. So we took a step back from rounding and worked on place-value instead.

First I cut 1 cm x 1 cm units from a sheet of paper. I gave them to my son and asked him to write down how many there were. - No problem - 

So I took a fresh 1 cm x 1 cm unit, drew 10 lines and cut of a tenth and asked him to write down how much that one was. He was baffled.

So we got out some money. Money is a great starting point for the decimal system because pennies, dimes, dollars and ten dollar bills are pure examples of the place values.

He was given 1 dollar, 1 dime and 1 penny and asked to write the value. Here's what he wrote.

After reading this it became obvious that he was a bit confused.

After giving him some time to think, he wrote the above which showed his confusion.

Due to his confusion, he was asked to write how many pennies were in each piece of money.

 Then it was back to dollars.

After some thinking it happened. He was able to write the amounts in dollars.

So we went back to the original paper units. After he wrote down .1 for the one-tenth unit, a tenth was cut off from the tenth. The one-hundredth was very hard to see, but the pattern was becoming obvious.

Teaching math to a child who has a strong need to understand application and learns by figuring things out is extremely difficult. If you have suggestions for other place value activities or math activities which encourage kids to figure it out for themselves, please leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

1 comment:

  1. I like how you were able to figure out how your son was thinking by watching him work. It looks like you both did well!


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