Have you ever found a great DIY project and then wonder what to do with it? Or a great homeschool idea that looks great on Pinterest but leaves you thinking long and hard on how to teach it.
In my quest to teach place value to my youngest son, I found directions on how to construct place value cups. The basic idea for place value cups is to use Styrofoam cups and labels them with numbers. I loved the visual and hands-on aspect of this, although I did tweak it. I used a cup for each comma that was needed. Since I have been correcting 12,39 or 4567,98 recently, I wanted a clear visual on 3 numbers grouped together then the comma.
Then I went on a web search for what parents were doing with the place value cups and only found more DIY posts and posts raving about how much fun they were; I really needed ideas on what to do with the place value cups. I did stumble on some more place value activities.
Our Top 8 Ideas for Place Value Cups
My son ranked the order from most favorite to least favorite.
- Penny Toss. Line up the place value cups on the floor. Then gently toss a penny in the cups. When the penny lands in a cup, say out load the place value of the cup. The cups do fall easily, but that didn’t stop us from trying to get a penny in the billion cups.
- Scavenger Hunt. Put the place value cups randomly around the room. Then race to build the cups in order. If the ten-cup is found first it must stay in its spot until the one-cup is found.
- Calculator math. By using a dice, picking numbers from a hat, or randomly choosing; write numbers in the boxes to fill in the math problems. Then use a calculator to multiply them together. Write down the answer then build it using the math cups. Say the answer out loud. Since the calculator doesn’t put in commas this was good practice asking where they should go.
- First select a number with the place value cups, then whisper the number, sing the number, and yell the number that was built.
- Roll a 6-sided, 7-sided, 8-sided, or 9-sided dice to pick the number to write on the page. Once the required numbers are picked read the number out loud.
- Put all the place value cups in a pile and race to build the place value cups in the correct order. Bonus: say which place value out load that is being added to the stack.
- Cup Stacking. In each group of 3 numbers stack the matching cups then place the comma cup in between each group. The groups would be: ones, tens, hundreds (comma) thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand (comma) million, ten million, hundred million (comma) billion, ten billion, hundred billion.
- Reverse Teaching. Have the child pick a number and then the parent builds the number with the math cups. Make a few mistakes and see if the child can notice them.
Pages created for the calculator math and dice page. Place Value (27)
After all the hard work learning place value, I made sure to have a nice reward for my history-loving son. I rented a DVD on Pearl Harbor from the library.