Idea 107: Place Value In Math Game

TRASH CAN GAME

This is a math game to help practise ‘place value’ (thousands, hundreds, tens and ones).  The objective of the game is for each team to make the biggest number they can.

I divided the class up into two teams. Each team takes it in turns to select a number at random, and then they have to decide where that number should be put: either in the hundreds column, the tens column, the ones column, or in the trash. Strategically, they will want to put big numbers in the hundreds or tens columns, while trying to get rid of their smaller numbers in the ones or trash.

Example: Red team goes first, they roll a 4. They decide to put this in their ‘ones’ column. Blue team goes next and rolls a 7! This is a good roll, so they put it in their ‘tens’ column, as they are still hoping they could later roll an 8 or 9 to put in their ‘hundreds’ column.

Back to the red team who roll a 0. This is not much use, so they put it in the trash. Blue team rolls a 3, and they put that in their ‘ones’ column. Red team goes next and gets an 8! They put this in their ‘hundreds’ column. Blue team rolls a 5. If they put this in their ‘hundreds’ column, they’ll lose, so they trash it. Red team takes their last roll and get a 4. They put this in their one remaining space, the ‘tens’ column.

We’re down to the last roll. The blues spin an get an 8! They put this in their ‘hundreds’ column. The round is ended:

Red team ends with: 844     0 in trash

Blue team end with: 873     5 in trash

The blue team just about squeeze a win! I generally play two rounds of this game.

There is a gadget in my smartboard that allows you to randomly generate numbers (the kids love watching the numbers spin), but you could easily use a big dice or choose numbers written down on slips of paper instead.

I award bonus points at this stage to any student who can re-arrange the numbers that a team got to make an even bigger number e.g. 376 can be re-arranged to make 763.

You could move from this being a whole-class activity to children playing this game on mini-whiteboards in pairs.

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3 Responses to Idea 107: Place Value In Math Game

  1. amyriley418 says:

    What a great idea for a game! I am currently teaching place value to my first graders and they would love this 🙂 thanks for sharing!

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