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.

## 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.

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

## Comparing Numbers

## Building and Comparing Numbers With Monster Math

### Hands-On Activities

### Monster Math Craft

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.

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