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A lesson on Addition and Place Value involving creating a Mathematical Board




2, 3, 4  

Title – Place Value
By – Jamie Rettke
Subject – Math
Grade Level – 2-4
Note from This lesson plan uses an attachment that is not included. You may be able to create your own version of the attachment, do without the attachment, or contact the author at the email address at the bottom of this lesson plan to request a copy.

Mathematical content : Addition showing place value

Ideas for active student learning:

Using this mathematical board for the early learning of addition allows the students to visually see the processes taking place.  They will be able to explore a number of mathematical problems.

Group of students: each student will have their own set to use at their desk.

Construction of aid: To eliminate some costs, use sheets of felt.  You will need approximately six sheets of each of the five colors (total of 30 sheets). Cut from those sheets as many 1 inch squares as possible.  Each student is given about twenty 1″ squares of each color.  Construct broad as shown on attachment.  Student may make their own.

Rules of the game :

You must always start from the yellow column and work to the left, and you cannot have 10 or more squares in a column.  IF you get 10 or more, you must trade in for the next color (column).


            A mathematical exercise is given to the students.  Each color symbolizes a place value in a mathematical equation.  The students, using the 1″ pieces, will line up the numbers according to place value.  As they add pieces together and find it’s more than 10, they must trade in for the next color (place value).

            For example, if the problem is 238 + 144, students will line up (according to place value), in the top rows, the following squares: 2 pink, 3 blue, 8 yellow.  On the bottom row, students will line up the following squares: 1 pink, 4 blue, and 4 yellow.  Once squares are lined up correctly, they will combine like colors giving them 3 pink, 7 blue, and 12 yellow.  Since the rules say you cannot have 10 or more of the same color, they must trade in 10 yellow squares for 1 blue square.  This would give them the solution of 3 pinks, 8 blues, and 2 yellows.  238+144=382.

Flexibility :

This aid can be used for learning simple addition as well as subtraction. 

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