A Place Value Common Core standard, in a variety of digits and numbers, is in every grade from Kindergarten to Fifth grade. So we need to carefully attend to our students understanding of place value. In my 2nd-3rd grade math class, I spend about 2-3 weeks making sure that everyone has a good chance to decompose numbers, build numbers, write numbers, expand numbers through playing games and doing real-life activities so they can really understand our number system.
One of our favorite class games is Papa John’s Pizza. It started as a spontaneous activity on why students need to be able to write down numbers properly – so they can take down orders over the phone!
So I set up a pretend pizza shop and have kids taking orders over the phone. Here is how I set it up, but feel free of course to adapt it to your situation. I sit in front of the class and choose a student to face the white board so they can’t see me, but the class can see what the student is writing on the board. The student has a phone and a Papa John’s hat/apron and a whiteboard marker. I have the place value chart on my lap. I ask them whether they want an easy (3 digits), medium (4-5 digits), or hard number (6-7 digits). (You can ask them privately, but my kids don’t seem to mind me asking them out loud). Then I make a number on the place value chart, so the class can see, but not the student.
Make a phone ringing sound, to trigger them to pick up the phone. I work on phone manners as well. So the student should say something like “Hello thank you for calling Papa John’s pizza, my name is ____________, how can I help you?” You would say “I would like to place an order for my son’s birthday party.” This can be completely creative and crazy as well, like pizzas for my dog’s 5th birthday or for a wedding. The student should say “How many would you like to order?” You would tell them the number on the place value chart. And the student should write it down, you can see what they are writing, and you can say “Can you repeat my order?” to have the student reread and double-check. When its all good, you can say “Thank you, when will my order be ready?” And wait for the response, and close the call. Bonus: You can also ask how much will it cost. Repeat with another student. You can also have a student do your job.
Please see my Complete Place Value Kit which includes five hands-on activities, four games, four worksheets, 1 foldable for math journals, and 3 qr code links to free online place value games.