Dice Place Value Activity (Value of a Number)
Here is an easy and low-prep group or solo activity for 2nd – 6th grade. I used this with a 5/6 combo class as a quick place value review. It is super easy to differentiate and the kids had a great time playing.
- Give each group of students (mine worked in partners or triads) a set of dice and some way to record their answers (white boards, paper, math journal, etc). If you are working with in the hundreds, use three dice. My students worked with numbers up to one billion, so each group was given 10 dice. You can give each group a different number of dice, depending on the size of the numbers you want them to work with. Make sure one of the dice is a different color from the rest.
- Students roll all of the dice. Instruct the students to make the biggest possible number using all of the dice.
- Students write the number on their paper/board.
- Make sure students know where to place commas if they are working with numbers of 4 digits or more.
- Students underline the number of the special-colored dice.
- Students write the VALUE of the number on the next line of their paper/board.
- Students can either help each other or do this activity as a competition. The winner would be the person with the largest value (this leads students to comparing numbers). The student who wins each round can put a star next to their answer.
- I walk around as students are doing this game and make modifications to change it up. After they complete a few rounds making the largest possible number, I have the group make the smallest possible number. Then I have them round the number to the special-colored digit (this worked best if you have dice of various numbers). You can also work on comparing numbers, ordering numbers, expanded or word form – endless possibilities.
Some important things to check for and clarify are:
- Students knowing where to put the commas
- Students knowing how to create the largest number possible
- Students understanding how to write the value of the number, particularly how many zeros the number should have. I like to have students physically touch or move the dice after the special-colored dice to count how many zeros should be in their answer.
Are you looking for some more differentiated place value activities? Check out our place value pack here.
Do you have another idea about how to extend this game? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!