Place value. Place value. Place value. Another brand-new academic year, another place value unit. Teaching this topic can feel a bit samey and stale after a while; however, we are here to help. The list of place value games and activities for KS1 and KS2 below will give you a stash of great ideas to break up the repetition (at least a little), so read up and let us know what you think.
Place Value Games Included In This Blog:
- The Sorting And Matching Game
- Odd One Out
- Classroom Birthdays
- The Ten-Sided Dice Rolling Game
- The Hula Hoop Game
- Line Up
- Passing Practice
- Roman Numeral Football Kits
- Delightful Darts
Place Value Game #1: The Sorting And Matching Game
The first in our list of place value games, the sorting and matching activity is perfect for KS1 pupils.
It’s always good to start off with concrete manipulatives to introduce any unit of work – and this one is no different!
The first step is to dig the multi-link cubes out of the cupboard, and after this, ask the children to make sticks of cubes of varying length – from one cube up to ten cubes long. You can then ask the children to arrange the sticks from smallest to largest.
Next, ask the children to step back from the table. Jumble up the sticks and mix in some Numicon shapes (or bags with varying amounts of counters in them).
Now, it’s time for the children to match the various representations of numbers with its corresponding representation. You could ask them to do this, or simply tell them to match the various objects as they wish (they might match a stick of six green multi-link cubes with the Numicon shape for eight, because they’re both green).
Depending on how your pupils group the various objects will give you a good indication of any gaps that may need to be filled.
Place Value Activities – Extension Task
To really test the children you could ask them to then sort the numbers into two groups: odd numbers and even numbers. (Using Numicon shapes makes it much easier for children to visualise and identify odd numbers.)
Place Value Game #2: Odd One Out
This one of the place value games should be played with some tact, especially with younger pupils!
Firstly, arrange the children into groups of various sizes – a group of four, a group of five, a group of seven, a group of eight…
Ask them to count how many people are in their group, and then count how many people are in the other groups too.
Next, ask each group to sit down in a line in pairs (you could make it a race – which group can sit down the quickest?). Ask the children: can you notice a problem for any of our groups’ lines?
Then ask the children to count out the number of children in the groups that have an ‘odd one out’. Hopefully they will notice that the groups of four, six and eight are sat in perfect pairs, but the groups of three, five and seven have an extra person each time. You could reinforce the point by representing the number in each group with a Numicon shape.
This is a simple yet effective interactive game, giving pupils a chance to interact with their classmates whilst learning.
Place Value Game #3: Classroom Birthdays
A number most, if not all, children manage to remember, birthdays were an obvious place to start for more games…
This activity begins by splitting the class into equal groups or teams.
Start by asking the children which month they were born in and equating that month to its number value: January is 1, February is 2 and so on.
Then ask the children to tell the other people in their group when they were born – they could even write out their date of birth in its numerical form. For example, 1/11/2011.
You could ask the children to group themselves into children who were born in an odd-numbered year and even-numbered year, odd-numbered months and even-numbered months, then on odd-numbered days and even-numbered days.
Depending on the depth you are going into with regards to properties of number with your class, they could organise themselves into those whose months or day numbers fall into certain times tables, or other number properties, like square, cube or prime numbers.
Next, you could get the groups to organise themselves in age order, from youngest to oldest (call it a race to speed them up). Then, finally have the whole class come together and – using the knowledge from each group – sort themselves into age order!
This is one game that will be relevant year after year and can be used across primary school!
Place Value Game #4: The Ten-Sided Dice Rounding Game
If you don’t already have ten-sided dice it could be a smart purchase as they can be handy at different points throughout the year (especially for random number generation).
The first step of this activity is to split the children into pairs or triplets. If they’re in a pair, one child gets a point each time 1, 2, 3, 4 or 10 is rolled (as they’re the ‘rounding down’ person), the other child gets a point each time 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 is rolled (they’ll be the ‘rounding up’ person), and if there are three children instead of two, the third can be the score-keeper or referee.
Sometimes you roll ‘em, then you get to hold ‘em, get the most and you’ve won.
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Place Value Game #5: It’s Time To Use The Hula Hoops!
The following game could be used as a starter, an active brain-break, or as a fantastic warm-up at the beginning of a PE session.
Split the class into teams of ten. Give each child a post-it note displaying the number they will represent.
On each side of the classroom, PE hall or playground, set up three or four hula hoops for each team. Each hoop will represent a place value column: thousands, hundreds, tens and ones.
Give the children a spoken instruction. For example: Show me 359. The children then race to make 359 quicker than the other team(s).
Hula Hoop Place Value Activity – Extension Task
For an extra challenge, increase the hoops and complexity of the columns – both sides of the decimal point. For differentiation purposes, you could choose to use a more confident mathematician as a coach/captain, sat in place representing the decimal point.
This is the perfect place value game for Year 3, Year 2 or Year 1 pupils as everyone has a chance to partake.
Place Value Game #6: Line-Up
For the next activity, we suggest starting by splitting teams into equal groups. The next thing to do is to stick a post-it note with a number on the back of each child.
The children will need to read the number that each of their teammates has on their back to the rest of their group, until everyone knows what is written on their post-it note. You could alternate between numerical representations and numbers written out in their worded form.
Then, it is a race as a team to organise themselves from smallest to largest, according to the numbers they have been assigned.
You can enlarge the teams or increase the numbers to add extra challenge. We love this idea for ordering, so expect to see variations of it cropping up in other blog posts!
If you are looking for more inspiration, check out our blog on how to teach place value in Year 5 and Year 6.
Place Value Game #7: Passing Practice
Using cones from the PE cupboard, set up two or more sets of three goals. Each goal will only need two cones – each cone being a goal post – and each goal will represent a place value column: ones, tens, hundreds…)
You could give each group or team a number. For example, if you gave a team the number 385, they would need to pass the ball through the ones goal five times, then the tens goal eight times and, finally, the hundreds goal three times.
Again, the game could be easily turned into a competition by pitting teams against each other to add some pace.
Place Value Game #8: Football Kit – Roman Numeral Swaps
We’ve done the hard work for you on this one and created some templates for this printable place value game.
Take a look below for the football kit templates with shirt numbers in Roman Numeral format. (If you have a class with split footballing loyalties, there is always the option to get them to colour in the shirts in their favourite teams’ colours.) We’ve left a few empty shirts for you to use as you wish!
One child should be holding the Roman Numeral football kit cards, the other should have cards or pieces of paper with a member of their favourite football team’s squad on each card or piece of paper.
For this example we will use the heroic England squad from the 2018 World Cup.
The task here is for children to swap or match each Roman Numeral card with a player’s card with the corresponding squad number.
You could challenge pairs or groups of children to match their cards, then order them from smallest to largest the fastest! (You could extend the task by asking the children to sort them in other ways too: odds and evens; square numbers; prime numbers; cube numbers.)
Our guide to place value for KS1 and KS2 in the national curriculum was written by a teacher, for teachers, so if read up if you find yourself wondering “What should I be teaching for place value this year?”
Place Value Game #9: Delightful Darts
It’s your choice whether to use a magnetic board or a real one… If you go with the real thing for darts, you might wish to check in with your Health and Safety Officer first, or have a first-aider on call…
Regardless of which type of dartboard you choose (we wholeheartedly recommend the magnetic variety), the range of challenges you could set are almost limitless in terms of place value (and other areas of maths, especially mental strategies).
You could ask the children to work their way around the dart board in either an ascending or descending order.
You could set them individual challenges: your next dart must have an odd value; your next throw must have a single digit value; your next throw must stick in a two-digit value area; your next throw must end in a prime number value area…
It’s also a great opportunity for the children to practice their mental addition skills, two and three times tables – they need to be able to multiply by three to hit the magic 180!
There Are Endless Place Value Games And Activities Out There
These teacher created games should enable pupils to be able to create links between abstract numbers and real world scenarios, helping them to visualise number more clearly and partition mentally with greater success, whilst laying the foundations for improving mental strategies more generally and increasing the speed of mental calculations too.
We are always looking to help spread fantastic ideas that help other teachers , so let us know if you play other maths games in your classroom and we will include them in future posts!
It doesn’t matter whether you are teaching place value, the four operations or preparing for the SATs, it is crucial that you have strategies ready to help your pupils achieve the most they can. That’s why we’ve put together our list of 20 maths strategies that we use in our teaching to guarantee success with any pupil. Take a look and let us know what you think.