# Understanding Place Values

Understanding place values and how to identify and name them is a first grade, Common Core math skill: 1.NBT.2. Below we show two videos that demonstrate this standard. Then, we provide a breakdown of the specific steps in the videos to help you teach your class.

Prior Learnings

Your students should be familiar with counting from 1 to 100 using 1’s and 10’s, starting from any number. They should also be able to read, write, and represent objects using numbers between 0 and 20 (K.CC.1-3).

Future Learnings

Later on, understanding place values will enable your students to skip-count within 1000 (counting by 5’s, 10’s, and 100’s). They will also be able to read and write numbers by using “base ten numerals, number names, and expanded form” (2.NBT.1-3).

Common Core Standard: 1.NBT.2 - Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones

Students who understand this principle can:

1. Represent the number 10 as “ten ones.”
2. Show numbers 11-19 as one ten and extra ones.
3. Use physical objects, drawings, and “number names” (e.g. 3 tens is 30) to portray two-digit numbers.
4. Explain and identify the place value of each digit in two-digit numbers.
5. Find two-digit numbers on a “hundred chart” and “number line.”

Video 1: Using T-Charts to Find Place Values

The video is told from the perspective of a student. His teacher asks the class to give the age of someone in their family. Four students give their relatives ages and are asked to write those ages on the board and use a T-chart to find how many 10’s and how many 1’s are in the ages.

1. Athena tells her brother’s age: 16
a. After using a T-chart, she finds there are 1 ten and 6 ones.
b. The video reminds students that the first number (in a two digit number) always goes in the tens place and the second always goes in the ones.
2. Xavier writes his mother’s age: 37
a. He finds that there are 3 tens and 7 ones.
3. Michelle writes her grandpa’s age: 72
a. She finds that there are 7 tens and 2 ones after using a T-chart.
4. The speaker writes his uncle’s age: 50
a. He asks the viewers to see if they can answer the question, giving them a chance to write it down.
b. He and the viewers find that there are 5 tens and 0 ones.

The video helps visualize the 10’s and 1’s place for students, giving them an easy way to identify the numbers in each place value.

Video 2: Counting by Tens and Ones

The video begins by explaining how pace values work. The first example shows a woman shopping for apples. She needs 43 apples for pie, but counting 43 apples out one-by-one is tiring.

Then she sees that the store sells apples in groups of 10. After grabbing 4 groups of 10, she already has 40 apples and only needs to count 3 more.

The bundles of ten help students understand place value. Boddle explains that the position a digit has in a number determines its place value.

In 43, 4 is in the tens place and 3 is in the one’s place. Similarly, in the number 63, 6 is in the tens place, meaning it is equal to 60. Then, 3 is in the ones place and is equal to 3.

The video then provides a couple different examples, helping students visualize and understand place value.

1. In a group of blocks, the first 3 stacks have 10 blocks each.
2. There are 4 blocks, not stacked.
3. Meaning, there are 3 tens and 4 ones.
a. There are 34 blocks in total.

The next example uses dots.

1. There are 6 groups of 10 dots.
2. There are 8 dots not in a group.
3. There are 6 tens and 8 ones
a. There are 68 dots.

The third example has students convert between tens and ones.

1. 5 tens = 50 ones
2. 3 tens = 30 ones
3. 70 ones = 7 tens
4. 10 ones = 1 ten
5. 9 tens = 90 ones

Want more practice?