The Place Value Choir

Post date: Nov 20, 2014 10:27:51 AM

This is a quick idea for an oral and mental starter that I've been using with classes and teachers at courses for a good few years. The example below would suit fourth class (4 digit numbers) but you can easily adapt it to suit 3rd or 2nd class by removing groups, and using only 2 or 3 digits respectively. And even though it's for place value, a topic usually covered at the start of the year, it would be a suitable activity right through the year to reinforce and revise.

In the past I've used a numeral flip, (exactly like in the one in top left), however I've just recently come across a perfect, online, digital resource (top right), which makes this activity accessible to all, not just

those with the physical numeral flip. It's also a very timely discovery for me, as my numeral flip has recently fallen apart after many years of faithful service!

The activity:

Divide the children into four groups, units, tens, hundreds and thousands. Using the digital flip counter the teacher makes a series of numbers by adding/changing the units or tens or hundreds or thousands. When the teacher changes the units, the units group reads out the whole number; when the teacher changes the tens, the tens group reads out the whole number, and so on for changes to the hundreds and thousands. I usually start with units, get them to pause after 3 or 4 callouts, move to tens, then hundreds, then thousands, then back again to units and so on.


• Switch groups or count backwards

• Instead of turning the flip, tell the children that they have to imagine you flipping numbers, and ask them to call out the numbers as usual (but without seeing you flip the numbers), thus encouraging their visualisation of number.

• Decimal Place Value Choir: If you have an actual numeral flip, start with three groups in the choir; units, tenths and hundredths. As the children get more confident you could increase to four groups (eg tens, units, tenths and hundredths)

For more oral and metal starters ideas please see my series of posts, Going Mental!

For more place value ideas, please see my post Know your Place... Value