Place value is a concept that can be a bit challenging for our students.  But when you use giant base ten manipulatives, it makes a challenging skill a bit easier.  When I saw these giant tens blocks used for subtraction at I’m Just Saying I knew it would make a perfect (AND SIMPLE!) introductory base ten lesson!

 base ten

Making the giant base ten blocks is super easy.  I used bright neon cardstock but any cardstock or paper or construction paper will work.

First, I cut the squares that I would need to make the tens and ones.  I cut my squares 5 inches by 5 inches.

place value

Next, I taped the squares together to make a tens unit.  I did not overlap the pieces but simply taped them edge to edge.  This prevents any flapping or drooping.

Finally I added some fun eyes and a smile to make place value peeps!   The eyes and mouth aren’t necessary but they’re funny and we laugh and when we laugh we learn more!

place value kindergarten kindergarten math

And then we introduced place value in class using the tens and ones.  For the lesson, students came up and picked up their samples and held them.  Then we counted by tens and ones to figure out the number.  We also determined how many tens and ones we had for each number.  After the lesson we did a quick assessment and 90% of the students got all of the assessment correct!

Check out the lesson in this video!

Also check out these posts for more place value ideas, lesson and activities:

Pool Noodle Place Value

Place Value Introduction

Also check out my recently updated Place Value creation!

teachers pay teachers place value




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  • Reply Lisa Mace April 21, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    This is such a fun way to teach place value! They were really catching on! What did you use for the assessment at the end of the lesson?

  • Reply longwingmontessori April 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Greg, I love this lesson. This is such a great and simple way to practice place value. It is such a hard concept for little ones to grasp. You definitely brought place value alive!

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