Top 10 manipulatives for learning place value concept

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Last Updated on September 8, 2020 by Editorial Team

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Place value determines the value of a digit that arises due to its place in a number. For example, in number 843, the face value of 8 is 8, but the place value is 8×100 = 800. Learning this concept is helpful in building basic math concepts like decimals, and so on.

Manipulatives offer learning support that the learners can use to internalize the place value concept by the way of arranging, sorting, or reordering the materials like straw bundles, strips, and others. The users of manipulatives are able to understand the concept of working behind the place value in a lucid manner. This brings proficiency in the way of applying the concept of place value for solving math problems, just like decimal manipulatives do.

Listed here are 10 best place value manipulatives you can employ in activities that can help students understand and apply this basic math concept.

1. Edx Education Four Color Plastic Base Ten Set

Edx Education Four Color Plastic Base Ten Set a place value manipulative

This manipulative comprises about hundred yellow-colored units, 1 cube in red color, and 10 pieces each of green rods and blue flats. Its purpose is to teach the concept of place value and to introduce the math beginners to decimals.

Apart from teaching the place value in a fun-filled way, the concepts of counting and of a few other mathematical operations can also be strengthened. This manipulative is quite useful for homeschooling and also offers an engaging classroom material or teaching aid to the teachers. These are made of break-proof materials; thus, these manipulatives can be used for years.

2. Place value pocket chart with straws

Place value pocket chart with straws a place value manipulative

This manipulative is quite simple and very lucidly explains the concept of place value. The children are given a pack of straws and the chart is divided into three pockets with the number assigned to each pocket. By the way of grouping the stacks, the children learn the place value of the digit in the number given.

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It helps three ways. Children learn counting, then it helps strengthen motor skills, and finally, it teaches place value and number identification skill. Thus, this place value manipulative is ideal for the math beginners who find it difficult learning it through books.

3. Place Value Banner with Magnetic Pieces

Place Value Banner with Magnetic Pieces manipulative

This banner is a place value manipulative that offers effective learning by the way of arranging and sorting. It is a multi-purpose manipulative that can help in developing number-building skills, learn place value to the billions place, and also to three decimal places. It offers support for building counting skills too.

The parents can use this banner for offering more practice to the child at home. It can help to make number-building homework a fun hour for the child, thus, encouraging him to practice more. Children can also use it for challenging each other and giving puzzles for solving.

4. Math Stacks Place Value to Millions Game

Math Stacks Place Value to Millions Game manipulative

This place value manipulative offers amazing pretext for practicing numbers in a variety of ways. In this stacking game, the clues are provided in four cards. Students collect all the four cards that point to a single number and stack them. The player who makes maximum stack in a given timeframe wins.

It is an awesome manipulative for teaching the numbers till the millionth place. In addition, the number spellings, and other number building concepts can be brushed up the fun way with this manipulative. Using the participative and strategic learning methods, the concept retention is improved with the help of this place value manipulative.

5. Place Value Flip Chart 

Place Value Flip Chart  manipulative

It is a very easy-to-use manipulative that offers learning support to math beginners. Not only the learners can understand and grasp the place value concept, but they can also know how to write the numbers in words.

This manipulative is designed to provide information on how to present the numbers while telling the place value of each digit. Each slot comprises of numbers 0 to 1; thus, all possible numbers possible to make with four digits can be learned using this place value manipulative. The color-coded cards arranged in a calendar style offer ease of use, which makes them exceptionally kid-friendly.

6. Educational math posters

Educational math posters place value manipulative

It is a kind of all-in-one learning material that offers an easily comprehensible way of absorbing the place value concept. The posters can be used as a decorative for the kids’ room and offer them a fun pretext to learn about the place value. These are designed to provide maximum flexibility of use and promote the visibility of concepts. Quite perfect for all kinds of environments such as playroom, classroom, or study room, these posters are exceptionally kids-friendly. Beginners can mug up the place value and practice it through reading them regularly. These offer an interesting pretext for retaining the concept of place value in mind.

7. Learning Resources Place Value Disks

 Learning Resources Place Value Disks manipulative

Group, add, subtract, and do a lot more with these place value disks. These place value manipulatives offer the ease of grouping and sorting the numbers with the help of their color-coded make. The students can touch, stack, sort basis the colors. The teachers can guide them with the numbers imprinted on the disks.

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This can help in developing math skills like adding, subtracting, etc. without actually indulging in the computation part. This manipulative is ideal for the students of age 6 and above. About 280 pieces enable performing group activity, which ultimately promotes participative learning.

8. Learning Resources Ten-Frame Floor Mat Activity Set

Learning Resources Ten-Frame Floor Mat Activity Set place value manipulative

The floor mat activity set offers a playful manipulative for learning place values ranging from one to thousands. This manipulative comprises of colored disks that need to be arranged on the boxes given in the floor mat. By the way of sorting and arranging, the students can grasp the concept of place value with better memory retention.

Apart from the place value, this manipulative also serves the purpose of teaching math skills like counting, adding, subtracting, and so on. These manipulatives improve 1:1 number correspondence skill and is quite helpful in developing gross motor skills as well.

9. Junior Learning 50 Place Value Activities

Junior Learning 50 Place Value Activities manipulative

This learning game is a manipulative that teaches place value through gamification. This activity set is a fantastic place value manipulative that offers ample practice by the way of offering a number of activities. Apart from understanding the place value concept, this activity set also helps developing counting, adding, and subtracting skills. The challenge level can be increased with the progress in the learning curve.

This manipulative is offers learning based on developmental progression and promotes mathematical mastery to the early learners of math skills. Children can challenge each other and then share the strategies for completing the activity, internalizing the place value concept in the process.

10. Place value Bingo

Place value Bingo manipulative

An interesting manipulative that can teach the students place value of digits to the hundredth place. This offers a participative way of learning place values. The students pick the number card and try to identify and match it with the card containing highlighted digits. Thus, apart from the place value concept building, the number identification ability can be strengthened, too, with this manipulative.

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This place value manipulative is ideal for the students of grades 1 to 3 and offers a progressive pattern of learning. By using a time-pressed way of identifying the digit’s place value, the students can build accuracy and speed too.

To sum up, these manipulatives are serving multiple purposes and are teaching the students to lot more than place value in a single session. The use of strategies like encouraging participation, generating a response, and challenging students with an increase in the level of difficulty allows making the best use of these place value manipulatives.


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