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National Curriculum - Number and place value : Key Stage 1 : Mathematics Content Knowledge

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Key Stage 1
National Curriculum - Number and place value
Question 1 of 3

1. 1: How confident are you that you can explain:

a. a: place value blocks or place value cards?


For example, use place value blocks to represent 136 as:

Place value blocks

Place value blocks are useful for explaining the relationships between one unit (the small cube), one ten (the long rod) and one hundred (the large square), and relating these to the place of digits in a number.

Place value cards are useful for showing how numbers can be partitioned, e.g. 265 = 200 + 60 + 5.


They can also help clarify how numbers are written. It is particularly important to secure understanding of the role of zero as a place holder.

What this might look like in the classroom

Question 1:
Darren makes a 2−digit number using these place value cards. What is the number?



Answer 1:

Question 2:
These blocks show the number 36. Put out blocks to show the number 24.


Answer 2:
Two ten rods make 20. Four ones are needed to make 24 altogether.


Question 3:
These blocks show the number 36. How many more unit cubes do we need to get to 40?


Answer 3:
With another 4 unit cubes we will have ten in all, and these can then be changed for a rod of 10. This takes us to 40.



Taking this mathematics further

  • Investigate the use of other resources, such as Gattegno charts, to model place value.
    Ways of working with a Gattegno (Place value) Chart.
  • Our number system is based on the number 10. Investigate other base systems.
  • Find out about the development of number systems through history.

Making connections

  • Young children initially learn to read and write some 2-digit numbers from memory, for example, they may recognise 25 because it is their house number.
  • A secure understanding of place value enables children to read, write and order any 2-digit numbers. The underpinning principles can be extended to work with large numbers and decimal numbers.
  • In order to develop efficient mental and written calculation methods, learners must understand that the value of a digit depends on its position in a number.
  • Learners need to know the relationship between columns in our place value system to understand the effect of multiplying or dividing a number by 10, 100, 1000…

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