Friday, September 10, 2010

Place Value Structures, Class #1

Yesterday I began a series of 4 homeschool classes (2 hours each), focusing on "Place Value Structures." Sadly, I was so excited thinking about the class that I forgot to take photos. So a few posed photos will have to suffice...

As children arrived, they settled in to explore polydrons as they took turns completing a chart of information about themselves. After everyone had a chance to fill in their information, we talked through the chart, both to introduce ourselves and to consider what characteristics in our class came up the most/least often, comparing #s of family members, pets, etc.

We then set off to explore a "Foreign Counting System" using materials from Bridges (produced by The Math Learning Center.) I counted centimeter cubes onto a place value mat and asked students to try to figure out what rule or pattern I was using to count.

As students caught on, I gave them their own manipulatives and mats and they continued to count with me until we had 4 in each column. (Base 5)

Children discussed what they noticed about this counting system as I took notes on a class chart. One child immediately noticed that it was like counting money using pennies, nickels, and quarters.

I handed out base 5 pieces and challenged students to make observations with a partner. We then recorded the information on a class chart. Children worked together to figure out what the next piece in the sequence would look like. We finished up by drawing base 5 arrangements on graph paper.

Extra activity: In the middle of class we looked at a hundreds board and counted by 5s from 46 to 81. This was quite a change from the usual counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. (Also from Bridges/Number Corner materials.)

Children's Math Books: No class could be complete without a few good books. We read Earth Day-Hooray! (place value) and Once Upon a Dime (money).

I have a delightful class of students. I'm looking forward to seeing you all again next week. (With a camera!) ;)


  1. What a wonderful set of activities! I like the base 5 idea.

  2. I love it! Thank you for sharing!


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