We compose/decompose, like “How many tens are in a hundred?” and “How many hundreds are in a thousand?” Then I ask “What Comes Next?” “Ten Thousands!” There are ten thousands in it. So what would it look like, if we follow the pattern of the blocks? At this point I give them scrap paper for them to figure out a small model, based on the ones cube, instead of the thousands cube.
After they show me a model, then I give them large poster paper for them to build it to full scale, with a partner. They really get into it. I often have enough made that we put them altogether to form a hundreds thousands.