3 Tried & True Games to Teach Place Value & Rounding

Beginning of the year. . . I used to be so tempted to skip teaching place value because it seemed too simplistic, assuming kids knew how to read larger numbers. Plus I wanted to get on with the "real math": multiplication and long division. WRONG! Developing number sense and place value are critical to understanding ALL math! To read more about developing number sense, click HERE.  
Games and hands-on activities make teaching place value less of a drudge and more fun, as well as reinforcing those numbers sense and rounding skills.
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. It is crucial to MODEL your thinking aloud, especially so students understand the concept that they are not just guessing willy nilly, but logically choosing their digits. Kids will LOVE playing against the teacher!
The best part was eavesdropping in on their conversations. (I always encourage kids to think aloud!)  I overheard snippets like, "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)
Grab your copy of Digit Mind directions HERE

Another partner game my students love to play is a card rounding game. Unlike most games where the largest number wins, in this version, students draw cards then place them in any order to form a number.
After spinning the spinner to determine which place to round to, a second spinner is used to decide whether the greatest or least number wins. Kids love the anticipation of the spinner!
 Grab your FREE copy of Place Value Rounding Game (gameboard & spinners) HERE.
If you're tired of drill & kill math worksheets, students love solving equations in the form of task cards! These rounding and estimating task cards help to familiarize students to the language and format of test prep questions.
They can be used as a math center, during math workshop, or as a whole class SCOOT game. The best part is that students can work independently, giving the teacher time to work with small groups of students or to confer one on one. Check them out HERE or by clicking on the picture below.
How do you teaching place value and rounding to your students?

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  1. These are great games, Kathie! Can't wait to try them with my kids!

  2. Fun! Fun! and more fun! Games like these make students want to come to school.

  3. My students would have loved these games! I'm going to try them out with my grandson now! LOved reading about your students' conversations!

  4. Place value is so important. Thanks for the great ideas, Kathie!

  5. Kathie, I LOVE the Digit Mind game! Thanks for sharing...

  6. I LOVE your math games! They are so creative, and practice such important skills. Thank you!