This place value game is one of my favorites because it is easy-to-prep and simple to learn. On top of that, it can be differentiated for different levels of students with very little effort; use the same rules and cards to play with 2-digit numbers or 6-digit numbers (see below "Differentiating the game"). And, once students know how to play the game, it's easy for them to work their way to the larger numbers.
Here's how you can play "Place Value Top-Up":
Number of players: This game can be played with any number of players. However, as you increase the number of players, the number of cards you'll need increases as well. I'd recommend 2-4 players for best results.
Preparing the materials: Print out the game mats and number cards that I've created for this game by CLICKING HERE. Further instructions for preparing the game materials are included within the document. You can also use a regular deck of cards (values 2-9 only) for this game, but the cards I've provided also include 0 and 1.
Getting ready to play:
1. Give every player the same place value game mat. I've included a game mat through hundreds and a game mat through thousands in the packet. If you want to play with 5-digit numbers or greater, just skip using the mats.
2. Shuffle the game cards. If playing with 3-digit numbers (hundreds game mat), deal 3 cards to each player. If playing with 4-digit numbers (thousands game mat), deal 4 cards to each player. The remaining cards should be placed in a pile facedown in the middle of the table.
3. Each player decides how he/she wants to arrange the cards on his/her game mat, as shown below. Once a player has placed his/her game cards, they cannot be changed.
Note: After playing the game a few times, students should realize that the best strategy is to start with the lowest possible number.
Playing the game:
1. The first player picks a card from the draw pile. The player must cover one of the numbers on his/her game mat with that card. When the player covers one of the numbers, the new number CANNOT be less than the number that was previously shown.
2. If the player cannot cover any of the numbers on his/her game mat (because the new number will be less than the current number), then that player is out of the game.
3. Play continues with each player taking a turn picking one card and making a new number, if possible. The last person to remain in the game is the winner.
Differentiating the game:
Don't forget that you can differentiate this game in any number of ways. It could be used for 3-digit, 5-digit, or even 6-digit numbers! Plus, if you add a decimal point, it can be played with decimals to any place value!
Did your students enjoy playing this game? We'd LOVE it if you'd share one of these images on social or leave a comment in the space below!
Looking for other fun ways to practice place value in your math centers? Check out these and other fun place value games in our store.
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