Activities
Programme of Study statements 
Activities 
A 
B 
C 
D 
E 
F 
read, write, order and compare numbers to at least 1 000 000 and determine the value of each digit 






count forwards or backwards in steps of powers of 10 for any given number up to 1 000 000 






interpret negative numbers in context count forwards and backwards with positive and negative whole numbers including through 






round any number up to 1 000 000 to the nearest 10, 100, 1000, 10 000 and 100 000 






solve number problems and practical problems that involve all of the above 






read Roman numerals to 1000 (M) and recognise years written in Roman numerals 






Activity set A
It is important that the children understand the place value of different digits. Conceptually, place value is complex and difficult for children to learn. Sometimes we assume children understand this concept if they can partition, say, 1345 into 1000 + 300 + 40 + 5. This isn’t necessarily so. Place value needs to be understood in four important ways: ‘positional’ ‘multiplicative’ additive’ and ‘base 10’.
Display a grid similar to this on the board:
1 000 000 
100 000 
10 000 
1000 
100 
10 
1 
. 
^{1}⁄_{10} 
^{1}⁄_{100} 
^{1}⁄_{1000} 
6 
8 
2 
4 
2 
5 
7 
. 
9 
3 
5 
Ask the children to explain what each digit is. For example the 2 is in the 10 000 column (positional) to find the number it represents we multiply it by 10 000 to give 20 000 (multiplicative). The 7 is in the ones column (positional); to find what the number 7 represents we multiply by one to give 7 (multiplicative). The 3 is in the hundredths column (positional) to find the number it represents we multiply it by one hundredth to give 3/100 (multiplicative). When we put the digits together to give the total value we must add the values represented in each of the columns together to know the total value represented 6 824 157 . 935 (additive). Each digit represents a number that is either 10 times larger or 10 times smaller than the values in adjacent columns (base 10).
You could give the children a set of digit cards and ask them to make and read large numbers following instructions that you call out such as these: make 34 now 234 now 2348, 23 487, 123 487, 9 123 487. Show the cards that show how many hundreds, tens, millions, thousands etc. there are .
They could then swap different digits and say whether the number is now bigger or smaller and by roughly how much for example, 9 123 487 swap the 2 and 8: the number is bigger by roughly 60 thousand.
They could select four, five or six digit cards and make the highest and lowest number and the one closest to 5000.
The children could do a similar activity on their whiteboards. This has the added bonus of writing the numbers as well.
You could give the children problems such as:
 Freddy scored 28 456 points on the computer game. His friend Hugh scored 5000 points more than Freddy. How many points did Hugh score?
 There were 85 356 people at the Liverpool match. There were 40 000 fewer people at the Manchester United match. How many people were at the Man U match?
 A London post office delivered 1 750 000 Christmas cards on the Monday before Christmas and 300 000 more on the Tuesday. How many did the post office deliver on the Tuesday?
You could explore place value with a calculator. Ask the children to key in a six digit number for example 234 568. Next give them instructions such as ‘change the 4 into a 9’, ‘change the 2 into a 7’. Each time. ask them to explain what they did (take 4000 and add 9000 or add 5000 take 200 000 away and add 700 000 or add 500 000)
Activity set B
The children could write numbers on their whiteboards and then make them 10, 100, 1000 times larger.
You could use a pendulum (easily made from three multilink cubes and a (long) piece of string) to mark time while children practise counting on or back in steps of different 10, 100, 1000 and 1million from and to a given number e.g. from 75 to 175/1075/10 075 etc. You could also do this for tenths, hundredths and thousandths.
You could use a counting stick and count forwards and backwards in steps of thousandths, hundredths, tenths 10 100 1000 etc. You could start by telling them that zero is at one end and for example 10 000 at the other. The children then need to work out what equal steps they need to count in to get from one end to the other. Be sure to jump around the counting stick to keep the children on their toes!
You could ask questions as if the counting stick was a number line; for example, what would go on this division what about half way between each end?
You could give the children this Nrich activity The Thousands Game
Activity set C
You could show the ITP (Interactive Teaching Programme from National Strategies) Thermometer. Set the maximum temperature at 500, the minimum at 300 and the interval at 2. You could then ask volunteers to show different temperatures. The children could work out differences between: two negative temperatures; a negative and a positive temperature; and two positive temperatures.
Discuss in which countries or regions of the world negative temperatures are found and how cold it can get in these places. You can find some information on this in a feature on Polar Regions in the Primary Magazine.
Activity D
Ask the children to draw different number lines that would enable them to identify a number that would be rounded to 10 100 1000 10 000 or 100 000. For example:
Round 1346 to the nearest 10
1346 is closest to 1350.
Round 1346 to the nearest 100
1346 is closest to 1300.
Round 1346 to the nearest 1000
1346 is closest to 1000.
Activity set E
You could ask the children problems which involve approximate answers that can be found by rounding, for example:
 Becky wanted to buy some clothes. The jeans she wanted cost £48.75, the sweat shirt cost £29.99, the trainers cost £59.80. She has saved up £150. Does she have enough money to buy the clothes?
 Sam was taking a survey of the number of cars being driven down the High Street over a four hour period. These were his results: 1st hour 219 cars 2nd hour 498 cars 3rd hour 314 cars 4th hour 189 cars. To the nearest hundred how many cars did he record?
You could ask the children problems involving positive and negative numbers for example:
 The temperature in Reykjavik at 6am was 12°C. During the day the temperature rose by 18 degrees. What was the new, higher temperature?
 The average annual temperature in the Antarctica is 57°C. The average annual temperature in the Maldives is 27°C. What is the difference between these two averages?
Activity set F
You could give the children a table showing the basic Roman numerals follow a pattern:
Units 
I 
II 
III 
IV 
V 
VI 
VII 
VIII 
IX 
Tens 
X 
XX 
XXX 
XL 
L 
LX 
LXX 
LXXX 
XC 
Hundreds 
C 
CC 
CCC 
CD 
D 
DC 
DCC 
DCCC 
CM 
Thousands 
M 
MM 
MMM 
IV

V

VII

VII

VIII

IX

Ask the children to use the table to make up different 4 digit Roman numbers for example 2365 or the year they were born or the year we are in now.
You could write some of these on the board and ask the children to convert them to ‘our’ numbers for example MCDLXIV.
A Little Bit of History in issue 2 of the Primary Magazine gives details of how to write Roman Numerals.