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Lesson Plans
Place Value Practice
3rd–5th Grade
Objectives Objectives

Number & Operations in Base Ten
  • Reading and writing multi-digit whole numbers in number, name, and expanded form
  • Comparing two multi-digit numbers based on meanings of the digits in each place, using >, =, and <
Materials Materials Needed Preparation:
Print out the large number cards, photocopy them onto construction paper and cut them out. You will need two or three copies of each number.

Introduction/Review Introduction/Review

Write 347 and 453 on the board. Ask students to tell you which number is greater. Then ask, “Which place value did you compare to know that this is true? Why?” Guide students to understand that they compared the hundreds place because it is the highest place value in both numbers. (For older students, bring up the level by writing 3,470 and 4,532 or 34,705 and 45,320.)

Reinforce the concept by underlining the hundreds place in each number and telling students that four hundreds is greater than three hundreds. Now ask, “What if the numerals in the hundreds place are the same? Which number is bigger, 347 or 353?” Guide students to understand that they should compare the next highest place value—the tens place.



  1. Ask six volunteers to come to the front of the room. Give each volunteer a number card.
  2. Divide the volunteers into two groups. Have each group arrange themselves into a three-digit number.
  3. Challenge the class to decide which group formed the greater number. Remind them to compare the values in the hundreds place.
  4. To reinforce the concept, write the inequality on the board or on chart paper ( ____ > ____ ).
  5. Now ask the groups to make two new numbers. Invite the class to compare the numbers and then write the inequality on the board or on chart paper.
  6. Repeat the activity using eight volunteers instead of six. Have students compare the values in the thousands place.
  7. If desired, repeat the activity using 10 volunteers to compare values in the ten-thousands place.

Independent Practice

Independent Practice

  1. Divide students into pairs. Give each student a copy of the Place Value Playoff game mat and number tiles.
  2. Instruct students to cut apart the tiles and place them facedown.
  3. To play, each student draws five number tiles and arranges them on the mat to make the largest number possible. Both players write their numbers on their mats.
  4. Players then compare their numbers. The player with the highest number earns a point. (Remind students to compare the values in the ten-thousands place first. If those numerals are the same, they should compare the numerals in the thousands place, and so on.)
  5. Have students clear their mats and continue playing. The player with the most points at the end of four rounds wins!
  6. At the end of the game, ask students to share their strategies for arranging their number tiles. How did they decide where to place each number? What did they learn? (In order to build the greatest number, the largest numerals should go in the highest place values.)

View the 3rd–5th grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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