Math is a tricky subject to teach for a variety of reasons. The main reason math gets tricky is simply because students lack confidence in it. One way to help students with their math confidence is to help them create strong number sense. Place value is one of the key concepts when it comes to number sense. One of my favorite ways tools to use are place value tents. A place value tent is hands-on, concrete, and engaging for students.
What Should I Use in Each Grade?
Learning place value is an important concept for children to understand in kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade. Place value tents are a great way to help children visualize the concept of place value and how it works. They provide a hands-on approach that makes learning more engaging and fun. With place value tents, children can gain an understanding of larger numbers. Place value tents are a great tool for helping young learners master this essential math skill.
Preparing Place Value Tents
Creating place value tents is a great way to teach your students about
numbers and how to read them. However, it’s important to remember that these
cards need to be handled with care. Rather than laminating them and adding more
plastic waste to the environment, I suggest teaching your students how to
properly handle the cards. This will help extend the life of the cards and keep
our environment clean. If you do need more sets of place value tents, you can
always print out more without having to buy new ones or use unnecessary
To begin, I color code of my place value tents. For example, my ones place is in purple, tens in turquoise, hundreds in green, the thousands in pink, and the ten thousands have blue tent cards. This helps students visualize the place value which can reinforce learning. You can choose whichever colors you prefer for each place.
How to Use Place Value Tents in the Classroom
First of all, you want to make sure all of your students have their own set of place value tents. Next, you’ll want to teach your students how to put the cards in piles on their desk. After that, have your students order their piles from the least to greatest or the other way around depending on the skill you are working on. Once everyone is done with this, they are in “ready position.” I like to use the term “ready position” because it’s unambiguous. When everyone is is ready position then we can get started on the activity.
Place Value Lesson
To begin, give your students a number to make with their place value tents. For example, 357. Next, have students build the number. To build this number they would need a 300 tent, a turquoise 50 tent, and a purple 7 tent. When I first start this lesson, I tell my students which color they need to build the number as a guided practice. After I do this with a few numbers, I just write a list and the kids build their numbers. If you’re interested in more details, please watch the video linked below. Just click on the image below.
Inevitably, one child will use all purple cards to make the number. This is a great teachable moment for you and your students. With the place number tents, you can visually demonstrate to the students how to slide off the cards from each other to reveal the numbers. So if the number is 297, you can slide off the 97 and reveal the number 200. If a child only uses the purple “ones,” this is not possible.
After a few more minutes of building numbers with place value tents. You should who the students how to slide the tents apart and suddenly they have expanded form. This usually blows their mind! It’s so easy to visually demonstrate this. Eventually, you can get the students to record their work and show it on the whiteboard or in a notebook.
To be able to use your tents over and over again, you want to make sure your students have a spot for them. Teach your students to put them away in order and put them wherever you decided they should go. I like to use Zip Loc bags because they are easy and a low cost.
Place value tents are a great way to teach not only number sense. Your students will love the hands-on work they are doing which will also help them retain the information. To get your own place value tents, just fill in the form below! Copy them on different colors to help your students understand place value with ease!