Lesson plan

Halloween Place Value Race

Double, double toil and trouble! Use two dice to roll up to 100 with one-digit sumations. In this lesson, students will play a place value game where they race to get to 100 by converting ones to tens.
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Students will be able to trade in ones and tens until they get to 100 using math manipulatives.

(3 minutes)
  • Explain to students that you are going to play a math game that will help them understand how numbers are made by putting together tens and ones.
  • Relate base-ten blocks to Halloween candies by explaining that for this game the ones will represent candies, the tens will represent broomsticks, and the hundreds flat will represent pumpkins.
  • Tell them the goal is to be the first person to trade ten broomsticks (i.e., ten rods) in for a pumpkin (i.e., a flat).
(7 minutes)
  • Model the game by playing against the class using separate Pumpkin Race Board worksheets for Player 1 and Player 2.
  • As Player 1, roll two dice and add the two numbers together (e.g., 4 + 5 = 9). Collect nine “candies” (i.e., units) and place them on your board in the ones column.
  • Say, “Can I trade my candies in for a broomstick? How do you know?”
  • Roll the two dice again as Player 2 to model trading in “candies” for “broomsticks.” Use different addition strategies, like using base-ten blocks or drawings to find the sum.
(10 minutes)
  • Choose students to continue to play the game you started using the same Pumpkin Race Boards as you guide their language and correct any misconceptions.
  • Continue to play with new students until someone reaches 100. The person who reaches 100 (i.e., a pumpkin) wins the game.
(20 minutes)
  • Divide students into partners to play the game using two Pumpkin Race Board worksheets (one per student).
  • Pass out a set of base-ten blocks to share between each pair.


  • Start with trying to get five broomsticks (tens) with the Five Broomsticks Race Board worksheet before trying to create a pumpkin (hundred) with the Pumpkin Race Board worksheet.
  • Allow students to complete the Who Got the Pumpkin? worksheet for homework to practice the day’s skill.


  • Have students write down the addition sentence that represents their rolls of the dice.
  • Challenge them to write down the number sentence that reaches 100.
  • As you walk around and observe students, look for the following student behaviors:
    • Are students trading ones and tens accurately?
    • When a student rolls a number larger than 10 (e.g., 12), are they counting out each one or do they know it is a “broomstick” (i.e., one ten) and two “candies?”
    • Can students write the corresponding number sentence?
  • Listen carefully for the language students are using to communicate their math learning.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring students back to the rug and debrief. Ask the following questions:
    • “What was hard about the game at first?"
    • “Did you get more efficient with your numbers as you played?”
  • Use the worksheet Who Got the Pumpkin? as an assessment after students are familiar with the game. Allow students to use the base-ten blocks if needed to complete the activity.

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