Place Value Counting Strips

Place Value Counting Strips were new to me until just the other day when a colleague introduced them to me. What a wonderful teaching tool!  The minute I saw the idea, I knew I had to create my own version of the activity. I plan to use this with my first graders next week. I am excited to see how they do with it and if it is helpful especially for those who are struggling with the concept of place value.

Place Value Counting Strips

There are two parts to my version of the Place Value Counting Strips. The first is the place value counting strip itself. This is obviously the most important part of this activity.  Print a few of these for each student. As they complete on sheet, another sheet can be glued to the bottom and they can continue on on the next paper.

The second part of this activity is a work mat for students who need that extra bit of visual help.  This work mat is where students put the base ten blocks before recording the numbers on their place value counting strip. This work mat comes in three pages and needs to be glued together after printing to look like the picture below.

Once the mat is assemble and the place value counting strips are copied and ready to go, you can begin the activity.

Using the Place Value Counting Strips and Work Mat

Students need a pencil and base ten blocks for this activity.

Step One:  The student places 1 one (cube) on the work mat.  He then records “1” in the ones column on the place value counting strip.

Step Two: The student places a second one (cube) on the work mat and records the number “2” in the ones column on the place value counting strip.

The student continues to add one one (cube) to the work mat and then write the corresponding number on the place value counting strip. When the student goes to put the tenth one (cube) on the work mat, he instead sweeps all the ones (cubes) off the mat and adds a ten (rod).  He then records 1 ten and 0 (zero) ones on the place value counting strip.  The student continues this way until he is about to put the tenth ten (rod) on the work mat and instead swaps the 10 tens for a hundred (flat).

Some students will be able to complete this activity without the work mat or perhaps just using a simple ten frame. The important thing is that he understands why he is placing the base ten blocks where they go and why he is trading 10 ones (cubes) for 1 ten (rod) and 10 tens for 1 100 (flat).

Also available is a smaller version of the place value counting strip for students who want to work with bigger numbers!

Place Value Counting Strips from BMTM

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