home elementary second third fourth comparisons math art book 
Place Value Activity 
Materials

IntroductionThis lesson helps students memorize place values. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, it lays the groundwork for decimal instruction, which is one of the most difficult topics to teach in elementary mathematics. Why are decimals so difficult?
In many classrooms, decimal place value is taught using base10 blocks that look literally identical to the base10 blocks used to teach “regular” place value. Here, the value of each base 10block has been shifted down two places for the sake of representing smaller numbers. But reusing blocks in this way is problematic, since it fails to truly represent how decimal place values differ from other place values. Isn’t it safer to just tell students that we can’t represent decimals using base10 blocks because none exist that are small enough for the purpose? 