Place value serves as a basic foundation for math. The arrangement of numbers in a sequence dictates their value. This concept can be tricky for students to grasp but it remains an important subject for them to master before moving on to more advanced mathematics. Teachers can utilize a variety of projects for their bulletin boards that reinforce the concept of place value in math.
Place Value Pirates
One project teachers can use to teach place value with their bulletin boards is called Place Value Pirates. The teacher distributes paper cutouts of pirate faces, complete with beards and bandanas. Teachers can either assign students a large number, or students can create their own. The teacher instructs them to write the number numerically in the pirate’s mouth, for example 3,210,111. Students also write the number as text on the pirate’s hat or bandana and, again, they write the number as a breakdown -- for example 3,000,000 + 200,000 + 10,000 + 100 +10 + 1 -- on the pirate’s beard. When the assignments are complete, the teacher hangs the pirate faces on the bulletin board, along with a phrase such as "We ARRRRGH learning place values!"
Number Club Game
A variation of a card game, this activity that teaches place value is a group game with the bulletin board as a game board. The teacher divides the bulletin board into grids that name the columns as ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands and millions. Then the teacher divides students into teams and gives each team several large cards with numbers written on them. Each team pulls a number one at a time and hangs it on the bulletin board. The goal is to for teams to try to create the largest -- or smallest -- possible number using all their cards.
You can use the bulletin board to display a helpful mnemonic deivce that makes it easier for students to remember the order of place values. For example, to display hundreds, tens and ones teachers could use the phrase "Hold Teddy's Oranges" and posting an illustration of a teddy bear holding a bag of the fruit on the board. The phrase can be revised to be longer, incorporating more place values. Students can also make individual illustrations, which could be displayed on the bulletin board.
Money uses place value as the foundation for coins and currency. A common rhyme for remembering money is "Five pennies, trade a nickel. Two nickels, trade a dime. Two dimes and a nickel, trade a quarter every time." This can be written across the top of a bulletin board. The rest of the board should be decorated with images of coins. A corresponding class game can be played where students roll dice and collect pennies based on the number they roll. Once they can trade up to higher coins, they do so. The first student to get to a certain amount using the fewest coins is the winner. Money is less abstract than numbers and students have an easier time remembering the rhyme after playing the game.
- Math.com: Place Value
- Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes - Adventures of a 4th Grade Teacher: Pirate Place Value Bulletin Board
- San Diego State University College of Education: Number Club: A Game of Place Value
- Teaching Ideas: Hold Teddy's Umbrella
- Teaching Heart: An Assorment of Place Value Games and Activities
- Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images