Help your students practice place value with this fun, hands-on base ten block game. Neighborhood block teams compete to win points as they work together to show expanded numbers.
After this lesson, students will be able to convert blocks into hundreds, tens, and ones, then put them together to create whole numbers given both verbally and in a written format.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Gather students together and explain that today they will practice base ten numbers with a pretend neighborhood Block Party game.
- Ask students to raise their hands if they have ever been to a block party, or a party held for everyone who lives on a neighborhood block.
- Next, ask students to give you the street name or number address of the party.
- Write each address on the board, and then add a verbal description of the address. For example: Jacobi went to a party at 1000 Grand St., at the 10th block of Grand, at the corner house.
- Reinforce the connection that each address indicates where a place is, with numbers and word descriptions.
- Explain that when we write numbers in expanded form it’s like giving more details about an address. Expanded form is when we take numbers apart to show the value of each number’s place. In contrast, numbers written in standard form are just the digits in each place.
- Tell the class that they will be practicing place value, or the value of each digit in a number. To do this, they will show the expanded form of 3-digit numbers while playing a game.
- Divide students into three “block party” neighborhood teams: the red “hundreds” team, green “tens” team, and blue “ones” team.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)
- Rearrange students so they are sitting with their color teams.
- Hold up a 100 block flat. Ask for students to give the standard and expanded form of the number 100. For example, 100 is 10 tens. Attach the ten rods to the 100-block flat with tape to show that this is true.
- Hold up a 10-block rod and ask for volunteers to give the standard and expanded form of the number. Answer: 10 is 10 ones. Attach ten unit cubes to the 10-block rod with tape to show this is true.
- Write a 3-digit number on the board and ask teams to look at the number and be ready to “announce” their teams “place” in the standard and expanded forms of this number when you give the signal. Your signal could be "ready, set, go" or another verbal cue.
- Model with volunteers from each team. Example: point to the number and say, "122. What is the standard form? Go!" The red team volunteer should stand and say, "one hundred." The green team volunteer should say, "twenty," and the blue team volunteer should say, "two." Point to the number again and ask for the expanded form. The red team volunteer should say, “10 tens.” The green team volunteer should say, “2 tens,” and blue team volunteer team volunteer should say, “2 ones.”
- Repeat this process with another number, but this time hold up the blocks that represent that number and explain that this is how to play the Block Party Game.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Direct students to decide which team members will be assigned to hold up the hundreds, tens, and ones blocks.
- Explain that to win a point, the team must be the first to work together to quickly produce the expanded form of the number on the game card, which will be held up and announced in standard form by you, the game show host.
- Announce and show the number game card. Give the teams a signal to start. Help students along to reach their end goal and announce a "winner" of the round.
- Answer any questions students may still have about the game.
- Tell students that now the actual round of the game will begin. Begin calling out and displaying the number cards. Give a point to the color team that is the first to show the correct expanded form with the blocks.
- Continue until you use all of the premade cards.
Independent Working Time (15 minutes)
- Pass out the Place Value worksheet.
- Read the directions aloud.
- Walk around the room to check for understanding and to help struggling students.
- Enrichment: Challenge students to create their own standard and expanded form of numbers that include the thousands place. Students can take turns playing the game with three or four digit numbers with a partner.
- Support: Place struggling students in strong mentor student teams. For independent practice, provide the base ten blocks for them to count and to “feel” the numbers to help visualize them, and then write the answers. Reduce the amount of problems required on the worksheet from six to three.
Related Books and/or Media
Assessment (10 minutes)
- During the lesson, observe and check to see if students are understanding place value concepts.
- At the conclusion of the lesson, gather the worksheets to determine level of understanding and to give a percentage grade.
- Distribute markers and whiteboards and quickly assess the entire group by drawing expanded forms of numbers on the board. Point to each board drawing in turn and ask students to write the standard form on the marker board and hold it up.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Have students pair and share something new that they have learned about place values.