What's my Number? A Place Value Game

For some reason, place value is sometimes a difficult concept for students to grasp.  Place value flip books? Check. Building with Base 10 pieces? Check. Number lines? Check. Most of you know that I'm big on getting kids to think & justify their thinking: time for a GAME!
Just the word "game" has my class excited about whatever we are learning!  Always a favorite "board game" is Mastermind, the logic game where players have to guess their partner's color pattern. They use logic to make deductions about the pattern.  In comes Digit Mind, the place value version of this game!

With a partner, students pick a "secret" 3-digit number.  Each time someone guesses, the other person tells how many digits in the guess are correct and how many of those digits are in the right place.  (But they do NOT tell which digits are correct.)
This becomes a process of elimination, using previous clues. After playing a couple rounds of class vs. the teacher (which they LOVED), partners were ready to pair off. 
The best part was eavesdropping in on their conversations. (I always encourage kids to think aloud!) You can see from the photo above, this student started boxing numbers he felt were correct, or a pattern. I overheard, "Well, I'm going to try the 3 again, since one of the digits was correct and in the right place." After guessing 239, he was excited because two of his numbers were correct and in the right place." On the next guess, he kept the 39, but tried 439. "Oh no, now I only have one digit in the right place again so it must be the 3 in the tens' place." And so on. . .  (Now of course this is not to say that other students were not just wildly guessing any combinations of numbers! LOL)
You can grab your copy of the directions here.  

What kinds of games do you use to make math understandable for your students?

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