Lesson Plan:

All About Three-Digit Numbers

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August 21, 2015
by Emily Wakabi

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to read and write three-digit numbers using base ten blocks and written form.


Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Ask students to put their thumbs up if they have ever been shopping at Walmart or Target and have looked at new bikes or scooters.
  • Ask students if they had looked at the price tag and felt unfamiliar with the number. Tell the students that these numbers were most likely three-digit numbers, and that today you will focus on learning about them.
  • Tell students that they are going to learn how to write and read these three-digit numbers as well as use base ten blocks to represent them.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Explain to students that three-digit numbers are divided into ones, tens, and hundreds with the ones always starting on the far right.
  • Draw a rectangle and divide it into thirds on the board. Label "ones," "tens," and "hundreds" above each box.
  • Ask students to identify the number of ones, tens, and hundreds in the number 285.
  • Using base ten blocks, show your students a visual representation of 285.
  • Finally, explain that your class needs to practice writing this number in words. Explain that when writing in words we move from left to right. Have students start with the 2 and add the place value and then move on to the tens and ones. Their final result should be "two hundred eighty five.”

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)

  • Have students use the three-digit place value mat to practice writing three-digit numbers. Give students an example number, such as 458.
  • Fill in your own place value mat projected on the board, and walk your students through why each number is in each box.
  • Draw base ten blocks to show the number 458. Remind students that small boxes are for the ones, tall rectangles are for the tens, and squares are for the 100’s.
  • If you have enough base ten blocks for students to use them in pairs, this would be a good time to let your students get some hands on practice.
  • Explain that the class is now going to practice the written form of the numbers. Remind students that we read it from left to right.
  • Use a number anchor chart to display the different forms of a number to help your students remember.
  • Give your students another example number and ask them to fill in the place value mat and write the number out.
  • To challenge students, ask them to identify whether more or less base ten blocks will be needed for each additional number.

Independent Working Time (10 minutes)

  • Have students choose two three-digit numbers to fill out the place values mats and write out in written form.
  • Remind students to use the anchor chart if they get confused.



  • Enrichment: Students who need an extra challenge should explain in words at the bottom of each mat why the number they wrote in written form is correct.
  • Support: Students who need extra support may just need to focus on writing the number and drawing the base ten blocks. They may need an additional day to focus on writing the number in written form and can skip that section for today. These students may also benefit from working with the actual base ten blocks instead of drawing them.


Assessment (5 minutes)

  • Hand out a sticky note to each student.
  • Have them answer the following two questions on the sticky note:
  • Write the number 684 in written form.
  • Draw the number 269 in base ten blocks.

Review and Closing (5 minutes)

  • Ask students why they think it is important to learn about three-digit numbers. Ask students to name what other times they have seen three-digit numbers when they’re not in school.
  • Review the lesson by reminding students that three-digit numbers are made of ones, tens, and hundreds.

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