Math Background

Place Value to 999,999: Tips and Tricks

  • Make grid paper available for students to compare numbers. It will help them keep place values lined up. They can also use notebook paper turned sideways.
  • Have students look through newspapers and magazines for four-, five-, and six-digit numbers. Then have them report to the class on the types of situations in which greater numbers are used; for example, heights of buildings, attendance at stadiums, population of cities, and so on.
  • Try this activity with your class. Have students write a one-digit number on each of four index cards or self-stick notes. Then have them work in pairs for 5 minutes to form as many different four-digit numbers as they can. The winner is the pair of students that forms the greatest number of four-digit numbers. Repeat this activity for five- and six-digit numbers.
  • Have students research number systems used in other cultures and throughout history and report their findings to the class. This can serve as a good theme for a bulletin board.
  • Play “Words to Numbers” with your class. Randomly assign a one-digit number to each letter of the alphabet and record the letters and numbers on a transparency. Don't show them to the class yet. Have each student write a five-letter word on paper. (The words might follow a theme, such as pet names, fun places, and so on.) Display the transparency so that the class can see it. Have students translate their words into numbers. The student with the greatest number wins. Repeat this activity with four- and six-letter words. Change the value of some of the letters of the alphabet each time.
  • Use a spinner (Learning Tool 44 in the Learning Tools Folder) for this activity. Have students label each section of the spinner divided into six sections with different one-digit numbers. Then have them spin six times and record the digits on paper. Have students arrange the digits to form the greatest and least six-digit numbers.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 3