How to Teaching Place Value – Montessori

What is place value?
Place value is the basis of our entire number system. In math, every number has a place value depending on its position. 


In the number 4583  the place value of 5 is 500
Whereas in the number 5080 the place value of 5 is 5000 

4 and up 

What you need:

  • Montessori Number Cards
    • You can purchase Montessori Number Cards. 
    • I suggest you make them yourself out of note cards. 

Make them yourself:

  • Take 5 note cards and cut them in half. 
  • One those notecards write your unites in GREEN (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)
  • One regular sized note cards write down your tens in BLUE (10,20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70,80, 90)
  • Then take a note card and tape a half a note card to it. This will be your hundred that you will write in RED. (100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900) 
  • Then take two note cards and tape them together to make your thousands. You will write this again in GREE (1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000)
  • You can continue if you would like to. Make sure to follow the color scheme for each place value. 

How to introduce:

1 – set out a large working space and give your child the units and ask them to put them in order from top to bottom starting with 1. Make sure to line up the units on the right side of your mat. Your child should be familiar with this lesson because they should have already mastered this step. 

2. Have your child count 1 unit, 2 unit, 3 unit and so on until they get to 10

3. Then give them the tens.  Again ask them to place them in order from top to bottom making sure to line them up with the units. Make sure to point out that the tens go in the same order as the nunets with the only difference being the added 0. 

4. Have your child count 1 ten, 2 ten, 3 ten, 4 ten, 5 ten, 6 ten, 7 ten, 8 ten, 9 ten, 

5. Then give them the hundreds. Again ask them to put them in order from top to bottom making sure to line them up. 

6. Have your child count the numbers. 1 hundred, 2 hundred, 3 hundred, 4 hundred, 5 hundred, 6 hundred, 7 hundred, 8 hundred, 9 hundred

7. Then you can give them the thousands. Again have them count 

8 When they have finished, have them choose one number from each place value. 1 card from the thousands, 1 card from the hundreds, 1 card from the tens, and 1 card from the units. Then put it all together and help your child read the number. As they get ore practice you can have them read 3-4 numbers after each.  

Introduce place value and help your child read and recognize larger numbers.

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Published by Christelle

Former Montessori School Teacher and Child Life Specialist. Specialize in early childhood education.

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