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3 New Ways to use the Interactive Place Value Chart

Interactive Place Value Chart

An interactive place value chart is the perfect bulletin board idea for any upper elementary class, and this post provides 3 fresh ideas for ways to use it.

I remember the first time I walked into my classroom and looked around. As I walked around the space and looked at the school-provided seating, bare boards, and the stacks of books in the closet, my mind was considering every space and what it could become.

Classroom design is ultimately all about organization and usage. 

We have to think beyond our classroom spaces as they are, and start considering how they can be both fun to look at and be in, but also be useful, academic spaces.

That empty corner is the perfect reading nook. 

That space by the white board would be great for a center where students use the board to show work and keep track of their scores in one of the digital games I’ve got lined up for the year..

The desks could be shifted to create spaces for small groups to work… and on and on you go. You let your mind wander from space to space making plans.

Throughout the process of designing our classrooms, we frequently run into one space that teachers either love…or they hate.

The bulletin boards.

It seems that teachers fall into two camps when it comes to bulletin boards. Some people redo their’s every year to match the class theme for the year, and they thoroughly enjoy coming up with fun ways to one-up themselves from the year before.

Others very much want to hire this job out to someone else who cares about it more or has a more creative eye.

But bulletin boards are more than just pretty decorative elements in the room. I like bulletin boards because they are the perfect interactive learning stations, and one of the ways I like to use one of my bulletin boards is to create a place value chart that students can interact with throughout the year.

My place value chart bulletin board provided ongoing academic support, review, and fun throughout the year, and I was always finding new ways to use it.

Today, I’m telling you about 3 activities that you can try with the Free Interactive Place Value Chart that are sure to engage, challenge, and grow with your students as their understanding of place value evolves.

New Interactive Place Value Chart Activities

#1| Telephone

Line students up in rows of 4 or 5 students with the student in the front within about 10 feet of the Interactive Place Value Chart. When the game starts, one student from the back of each line will join you (far enough away that the other students can’t hear what you tell them).

At once, you will tell all of the students standing with you a number. For example, you may say one thousand four hundred and sixteen.

Once the students hear the number they will run back to their line and pass on the number to the person ahead of them, then that person will whisper it to the person in front of them, and so on, until it reaches the front of the line. 

Once the number gets to the front of the line, the person in the front will run over to the Interactive Place Value Chart and use the interactive numbers to create the number they heard.

If they are right, that team wins the round, and the person who was in the front of the line would move to the back of the line.

If they get the number wrong, the next team to get to the board gets to try for a right answer.

This game will move pretty quickly, so you’ll be able to play several rounds.

Variations:

  • Divide the whole class into just two groups to do the activity, so the lines of students are really long.
  • Create two bulletin boards on opposite sides of the room to allow for each group to complete the process.
  • Ask the class to vote on whether or not the number is right. This will allow for a more formative assessment situation.

#2| Silent Solutions

Begin by handing out numbers to the whole class. Each student will get a number (0-9).

Next, the teacher will do one of the following:

  • Say a number out loud
  • Write a number longform on the board
  • Project a number (longform) on the board
  • Ask a student to say a number out loud

Then, release the students one row at a time. As a full group, the class is trying to recreate the number you said, using the numbers they were given at the beginning of the activity.

They are not allowed to talk. They just have to silently decide if their number is needed, and where it goes.

Students can either place their number on the board in the correct place OR they can remove a number they think is in the wrong space. Not every student will go to the board every time depending on the size of the number and what number they were given at the beginning of the round.

Once the class agrees that the number they heard is on the board, they will raise their hands to let you know they have completed the task. Redistribute the numbers, and move on to the next number.

#3| Magical Dice

This activity uses the Interactive Place Value Chart to allow students to manipulate the numbers when told to do so by their ‘magic number-changing dice.’ 

To begin, create rules for your die/dice. For each of the numbers on the die, create a rule. Here are some examples of rules you could use.

  1. Change the tens position
  2. Make the hundreds position bigger
  3. Make the number smaller
  4. Add or take away enough numbers to change the number of commas
  5. Add 500 to the number
  6. Create a whole new number by changing 3 of the digits

As either a center activity or a full group activity, have the student roll the dice and then perform the action using the interactive numbers and your place value bulletin board.

You can also add a second dice with another set of rules to make this more difficult as students get good at it. 

Interactive Place Value Chart Recording Sheet Image

If students are doing this as a center activity, they can record their progressions simply by writing their starting numbers at the top. Students can also write out the longform version of their numbers on their recording sheets. See the picture as an example. 


Using the Interactive Place Value Chart on your classroom bulletin board doesn’t need to be a one and done activity nor does it have to be a ‘number of the day’ type of thing. Use this chart to engage students in games and centers that have them practicing their numbers and place values in ways that keep them energized and excited to play again and again.

Interactive Place Value Chart

For even more ways to teach place value, check out this place value roundup post, or you can check out all the place value resources in the Fun in 5th Grade store, by clicking this link.

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