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Base-10 Blocks: Interactive Lesson Plan on Place Value

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 3/2/2012

To teach students about place value, you can do an interactive lesson plan, playing a game and using base-10 blocks. This activity will engage your students and have them learning in no time.

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    Preparing the Students

    To teach this interactive place value lesson plan, students will need access to base-10 blocks. You can do the lesson with cubes (ones place), rods (tens place), flats (hundreds place), and blocks (thousands place) or with any combination of these four. It will depend on what objectives you want students to master. Students will also need a pencil and a blank place value chart. If you do not have many base-10 blocks, you can put students into pairs or even small learning groups.

    At the beginning of the interactive place value lesson plan, have students build some easy numbers with their base-10 blocks. Ask them to make 28 (they would use 2 rods and 8 cubes) or 175 (1 flat, 7 rods, and 5 cubes). Students can also fill in their place value charts with the appropriate numbers once they build them with their blocks. When you are sure students understand what each base-10 block represents and how to build numbers, students are ready to play the game, which is the main part of the lesson plan.

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    Place Value Game

    base 10 blocks 

    With this interactive place value lesson plan, you are playing a game with students. Divide the class into two teams. Each team takes turns solving problems that you propose for place value. The entire class works the problems with their base-10 blocks. One team member or team group (depending on how many students and base-10 blocks you have) attempts to answer the question on their team's turn.

    If they get the correct answer, their team gets a point. If they get the wrong answer, the other team gets a chance to steal. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the time period. The important thing with this lesson plan and game is that ALL students are working each problem regardless of whether or not it is their turn to answer the question.

    Examples of questions for the place value game:

    1. Ask students to take 16 cubes (ones place) and put them on their place value chart in the ones place. The question is: how can you build this number using rods and cubes? How many rods would you need? How many cubes would you need? (Answer: 1 rod, 6 cubes, and you would write a 1 in the tens place and a 6 in the ones place for sixteen).

    2. Show me how to build 1,456 with base-10 blocks and how to write it in numerals in your chart.

    3. If I have 5 flats, 4 rods, and 7 cubes, what number do I have? How do you read this number? How do you write this number?

    You can ask any variation of these three questions. As long as students are manipulating the base-10 blocks and building and writing numbers, then you are meeting the objectives of the interactive place value lesson plan.

Teaching Place Value

These articles help elementary teachers teach a unit on place value.
  1. Base-10 Blocks: Interactive Lesson Plan on Place Value
  2. Worksheets for Place Value - Math