No-prep Games for teaching Place Value

maxresdefaultThese games can be used as starters, during transitions or as a plenary activity – my class love them! Once they have been taught they can be adapted and be used to squeeze an extra bit of learning in even if you just have a few minutes.

Place value clapping

Choose a child to represent each column in your place value table – in Year 3 we work mainly with 3-digit numbers so have 3 children at the front of the class.

Write a 3-digit number on a mini-whiteboard and show it to your volunteers.

Each person then has to clap the correct number of times e.g. if the number is 382, the person in the hundreds column claps 3 times, person in the tens claps 8 times and the person in the units/ones claps twice.

Depending on your class, you can ask them to give you how many hundreds, tens or ones, or the whole number.

My class love this game and we often play it as a quick warm-up activity.


Alien Maths

This is a real favourite in my class – I especially like it that pupils can play in pairs after it has been taught so everyone is actively involved. During a recent learning walk (with Deputy Head and two principals of nearby schools!) my class were playing this as a warm-up and I got really good feedback on it.

Tell the children that we’re going to learn how to speak Alien – and we’re really good at languages so it will be no problem!

Teach them that a clap is worth 1, a shoulder tap with both hands is worth 10 and a finger click is worth 100. Depending on how hard you want to make it, you could do it in order from largest numbers down or in reverse order. You could also choose different actions if you prefer.


Active Place Value

When we play this the first time I ask for some volunteers in front of the class, then it can be played in teams, with the people not making the number from each team designated as checkers.

Once again, have children in place value columns – standing with arms and legs open wide is worth 100, standing with body straight and arms stretched up is worth ten and crouching down is worth 1. Practise a few so class can work out each number, then try in teams.

Split class into teams – think about the numbers you will use so that there are enough children to make the numbers and there are not too many children ‘left out as checkers each time. Either say a number or write it on the board, then give the teams a certain amount of time to make the number. Those that have succeeded get a point!

Click here if you would like to see some more games you can play for teaching place value – these games need some preparation (printing) but all resources are provided so it still won’t take you forever.

Do you have any other games you like to play to teach or consolidate place value?

Please let me know in the comments!

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