Activities for 3rd Grade Place Value

Incorporate an activity into your lesson to solidify concepts and reach multiple types of learners. Activities provide an engaging format for students to master material taught within your lessons. To help your third-grade students fully understand the concept of place value, utilize activities to reinforce skills taught within your instruction.

  1. Build a Number

    • The activity "Build a Number" helps students understand place value concepts. To use this activity in your class, simply provide single-digit number flashcards to your students. You can make these with cards with card-stock or construction paper or purchase them at your local teacher store. Break your students into groups and provide them with a set of the flash cards. Explain to your students that they must come up with as many sets of numbers as they can and write, on a separate sheet of paper, the place value each number holds. For example, if your students make the number 5,234, they will state that the five is in the thousands place, the two in the hundreds place and so forth. Vary instruction and require advanced students to make larger numbers and struggling students to create smaller numbers. For detailed instructions and other variations check out the Mathwire Blog (

    Number Lineup

    • Ensure your students are engaged with the "Number Lineup" activity. This place value activity focuses on number recognition and mastery of place value terms. To utilize this activity in your classroom, obtain large single-digit flashcards or, using paper, create your own. Pick three to six students to stand up and pick a number from the deck of flashcards and hold it in front of their body so they cannot see it. Once each of the students has a card, tell the rest of the class the number. The students then must order the standing students by stating the place value spot they must stand in. This continues until your students have correctly ordered the standing students according to their number. For example; if the number is 576, your students will tell the student with the number five to stand in the hundreds place, or all the way to the left, and so forth. This activity provides students with the chance to review place value concepts and terms. Detailed instructions are provided on Mathwire.

    The Place Value Board

    • Break up the monotony of traditional learning methods and physically engage your students when you complete the "Place Value Board" activity. To use this activity, use a large piece of butcher paper and break it into three sections and label each section: ones, tens and hundreds. Have all of your students stand up and then roll a die. Whatever number appears on the die, have that many students stand in the ones section. Then roll the die and have students fill each section until all of the sections are filled. Then ask the students to state the number they have created. For example, if you roll a three first, then three students will stand in the ones column and so forth. This activity reinforces place value concepts and brings the students into the instruction. A variation to this activity is to create more columns, to make larger numbers. For detailed instructions check out the Southwest Education Developmental Labratory's website (

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