I use these a lot at the early stages of understanding of place value. In my opinion, place value is the single most important mathematical concept that children need to master in upper KS2 to prepare them for secondary school maths. Many don’t, so it is incumbent on secondary maths teachers to ensure that any gaps are filled in Year 7.

As a pdf. Or if you want to change things, as a Google Sheets or MS Excel file.

If you print them out on card, you can put them inside transparent A4 plastic wallets and then use mini-whiteboard pens to write on them. There are different types of plastic wallet – you want the ones that have relatively thick plastic which is smooth, not textured. Otherwise you will have a hard time rubbing off the pen!

### Initial Activities

- Show me 3 tens. Now show me Thirty. Why do we need to put the zero in there?
- Show me 5 tenths. Show me 5 hundreths. Why do we need the zeros?
- Show me 34. What is 34 made up of?
- Show me 6.75. What is 6.75 made up of?

From here, of course, you might want to look at multiplying and dividing by powers of 10 and then eventually 4 operations involving decimals. But don’t rush into that until you are confident they have secured a depth of understanding. These questions are good for really testing that:

For me these are a crucial AfL tool to ensure the building blocks are in place before doing more complicated things with decimals.

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