Free Place Value and Comparing Numbers Activities

Building a strong number sense is the foundation of most math applications.  It's important for our students to know what numbers represent, what is more, and what is less.  Working on place value and comparing numbers is an important part of building those number sense skills.  These free place value and comparing numbers activities will engage your students in a fun, skills-based practice.

These engaging activities are the perfect way to help your students practice place value and comparing numbers.

Making the Abstract Concrete

In the primary grades, it is important to give students lots of hands-on math practice.  This helps them learn in more concrete ways what numbers represent.  Using place value blocks, manipulatives, and drawing pictures are all great strategies that help young kids visualize what a number stands for.   

Practice, practice, practice is the way to help students master new skills like place value and comparing numbers.

As students start learning what a number represents, they can also start learning to compare numbers to determine which is more and which is fewer.  Comparing numbers and place value go hand in hand.  By teaching students to compare numbers and explain it in terms of place value we are teaching the key number sense skills they need for the future. 

Once students have been taught the concept of place value and comparing numbers it is important for them to practice.  Practice building numbers and visualizing what they represent.  Practice comparing and practice labeling more and fewer.  It's this exploration of numbers that helps them to build the brain connections with numbers that becomes the foundation of math.

It's so important that we don't hurry through these concepts in a rush to get started with "math."  This is math and building a solid and deep foundation will do more for our students than rushing into addition and subtraction.

Building Numbers

Using manipulatives and hands-on activities will help students better grasp new concepts like place value and comparing numbers.
Giving students opportunities to build numbers is important.  

It's this process of counting out a number that really helps them wrap their head around its meaning.  When working on this in the classroom, it's important to give students a variety of ways to practice.  Here's four main ways to practice:

1. Place Value Blocks
2. Counting out Sets with Manipulatives
3. Drawing Sets
4. Counting Sets in a Pictorial Form

The goal would be to include all of these forms through different activities over a period of time.  

Comparing Numbers

As students begin learning what numbers represent they are ready to start comparing numbers.  While we traditionally think of this concept as greater than and less than, the underlying skills go so far beyond that.  
Make practice comparing numbers a game with activities like this which help students learn the vocabulary associated with this skill.
Comparing Numbers helps students read number lines, determine the correct math operation, and maybe negotiate a huge business deal one day.  Yep - those Fortune 500 CEOs are comparing numbers every day and those skills started in the primary grades.

When teaching comparing numbers its important to teach proper vocabulary.  Focus on the words 'more' and 'fewer' instead of 'bigger' and 'smaller'.  Use the words 'greater than' and 'less than' when using the symbols.  Talk about numbers in relation to each other and give real-world examples.  

Then give students lots of opportunities to practice using that vocabulary.

Building and Comparing Numbers With Monster Math

My students love Monster Math!  In fact, it's one of the activities they beg for over and over again.  I'm excited to share it with you so that your students can use it too!  The activities in this free resource will have your students building and comparing numbers.  

Hands-On Activities

There are hands-on activities you can use for math centers, whole class lessons, or even small group work.  
Place value activities like these feel more like a game than learning for your students and will help them visually identify place value.

In this activity, students will draw two number cards.  Numbers up to 120 are included so you can pick and choose the number range you'd like the students to work on.  Next, students will build each number using place value blocks or some type of visual representation.  Finally, students will compare the numbers and enter the correct sign before adding it to their answer sheet.  

Here students will draw four number cards, build them and then put them in order from least to greatest.  

This set also includes a number building mat for numbers to 120.  Students can draw a number card and then build it on the place value mat using blocks.

Monster Math Craft

This Monster Math craft is so much fun.  Use it as a practice activity or use it as an informal assessment to see what your students have mastered.  

Using a craftivity like this will not only help students show their learning, but also help you do an informal assessment of your student's progress.

For this activity students will randomly draw a number card for their monster.  Then they will use that number to create their number monster.  After completing the "My Number Monster" response sheet they get to build their number and create their own number monster.  

Students will connect their knowledge of place value blocks to creating this number monster.  The monster's hairpieces are the equivalent of a tens block, and the monster's teeth represent ones blocks.  There is also a second option that allows students to build their number monster any way they want.  It doesn't have to relate to the number they drew.

This number monster craft is a great way to put into practice all students have learned about building numbers and comparing numbers.  

Grab Your Free Monster Math Activities

Add these fun and engaging monster math activities to your lesson plans!  To get your free building numbers and comparing numbers resource just click on the image below.  

Grab this FREE place value and comparing numbers activities set to get started with your students today.

Don't Lose This Free Number Sense Activity

I don't know about you, but I have lost so many great ideas because I forgot where I saw them.  Now I pin them on Pinterest and I can always go back and find them again.  It's my 21st century #teacherhack!  

Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can find your way back when you are ready for some Monster Math!

These engaging activities are the perfect way to help your students practice place value and comparing numbers.

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