Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jet-Puff Place Value

I am very happy to announce that today is my last day of school before 12 days of spring break!
Surprisingly, my nuggets have been more "on" these last two days than all of last week.
I took advantage of this and tested their brains out yesterday.
They took 10 tests.
The rhyme I used with them (I rhyme with them A LOT) was, "If we test today, tomorrow we can play."

I made sure that there was plenty of learning going on but wanted to make sure that they were rewarded for working so hard.
(The fun sure has been sucked right out of teaching, but there are still many ways to put it back in!)

So, I decided to introduce place value to my nuggets using this idea I found on Pinterest last year.
I adapted it for our second grade standards so that we worked on numbers to one thousand.

What you need is:
2 bags of normal sized marshmallows
1 bag of circular cereal (I chose generic Fruit Loops, but Cheerios would do, too)
1 box of toothpicks or smallish skewers (I got the smallish skewers this year because the toothpicks were a bit too short)
strips of paper with thousands, hundreds, tens and ones written on them
(I stupidly bought double of everything...that's what happens when you forget to go to the store the night before and have to go at 6:30 in the morning.)

Have your nuggets place their toothpicks into the marshmallows and stand the marshmallows up in the sections of the paper strip.

Then, have them place amounts of cereal in each place value area to represent a digit.
I forgot to get a picture of this, but I then had them write the digit underneath each place value area, place the comma in the correct spot, and read the number.

We worked together for a little bit.
I challenged them a bit by asking them to add a certain amount and see what the new total was.
For example, the number was 345.
I asked them to add 200 to the number and then change the appropriate digit in the written number.

After they began to get the hang of it, I had them create any number they wanted to at their seats.
They then walked around to each other's desks and read the numbers that they had represented with the cereal.

It was amazing to hear the nuggets who really struggled to read longer numbers at the beginning of the lesson read them fluently and without much hesitation.

Being a reflective person, I immediately tried to figure out how I could have made it better and even more concrete for my nuggets.
When I do this next year, I am going to create a worksheet to go along with it so they have to write it down on a piece of paper and accumulate multiple numbers to read instead of just one. that I'm done with this...I am off to start my spring break!
(After a 4:30 meeting, though.  Seriously.  Who schedules a meeting about school on the last day at 4:30??  That is cruel and unusual punishment.)

Do you have anything exciting happening this weekend??


Mrs. B


  1. I think this is such a fun idea! Of course, I'm a bit of a math-y person, so it makes a lot of sense to me. But still, I think this would be a lot of fun to do as a kid, but as silly as it sounds, think it'd be fun to do now!

    1. They loved it! 90% of my nuggets understand place value now and this was the PERFECT intro! Thanks for stopping by!