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Thursday, 8 January 2015

A fun way to teach place value!

I once heard a teacher talking to her students about how numbers are like cakes. They are made up of several ingredients. I really liked this comparison but I took it a step further. I started displaying numbers in a cake form on the board. The ingredients were shown as layers of the cake and the number they made was written in the icing. I explained that it didn't matter which ingredient was added first, you would still make the same cake. The students have a lot of fun making yummy numbers.

Then I invented the cake making place value game. 
Students are given the icing and must find the ingredients. The colour of the completed cake acts like an answer key but doesn't give the answer away. I display the ingredients in two ways, as numbers and as written ones, tens, hundreds and thousands. 

Whiles its quite easy to make your own set of cakes, I do have three version of this game available for purchase.

As each part of the cake is symmetrical you always purchase the thousands place value and remove pieces (thousands and hundreds) to simplify the set for younger students.

 Each set  has 24 cakes/cupcakes included. I strongly recommend laminating the set for longevity.

Outline of a lesson:
Expose students to the concept that numbers are made up of ingredients. The ingredients for the number 58 are 50 and 8 or could also be said as 5 tens and 8 ones. Get students to tell you the ingredients for a variety of numbers using the idea of making a cake.
Then use this set for a whole class game where students are given the ‘icing’ (whole number) and must find the ingredients which are spread out on the floor or a table. 

For a follow up lesson get students to make up their own cakes.
The cup cakes can also be used as a group or independent activity and makes for a quick and fun assessment strategy.

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