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Helping Kids Understand Place Value

Make the largest possible number using these three digits.

This type of problem will really show you if your child understands place value or not.  Hopefully, it’s a piece of cake.  But if you are teaching a child who is a beginning math-er, then you might want to get out some place value cards to help.

Here I’ve laid out all of the possible numbers you could make with those three digits. I’ve also arranged them in order of greatest to least.  (Really, that’s two steps!)

Now I can really see what the biggest numbers could be in each of the hundreds, tens and ones place.  (I can only use each digit once!)

I lay the cards on top of  each other to form my number.

This helps kids understand that 954 is really 900 + 50 + 4.

FYI, the cards I’m showing in the picture are from Right Start Math and cost $5.50.  You could easily make them at home of course.  Place value cards will work with any type of math curriculum.


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