I just KNEW that teaching was going to make me rich one day!

August 13, 2010 at 3:25 am Leave a comment

I’m not someone who really feels okay spending extra money just because a store is locally owned and operated. But then I go to a place like Frager’s Hardware, which is reasonably priced. And well stocked. And locally owned and operated. And THEN I meet an employee named Justin who spends 2 hours helping me build the place value toy that I made up in my head. And  I am Frager’s most dedicated customer. Forever.

So, first of all, thank you, Justin, and thank you, Frager’s. You have done your good deed for the year.

And now, for my invention…

My students really struggle with writing numbers from words because they leave out the zeros. We talk about how place indicates value, but when they write a number, they label empty spaces with place values names, and frankly, they don’t believe me if I say that no one will be able to read their mind to find out which blank spaces are supposed to have value.

So, I’ve always wanted to have some kind of tool that physically shows students that it is necessary to put a zero unless they want to change the value of the number, a tool that doesn’t leave room for blank spaces.

This is it. Students can put the little pieces between the wood and plexi glass, and the pieces slide over to the decimal point. If you forget the zero, the pieces still slide over anyway.

I have told Justin that when I get rich on this, I’ll cut him in. So nobody start selling this before I do, okay? You can however make it yourself, and it only costs $30 for four of them!


(1) Buy  one 1″ by 6″ by 8′ piece of wood and two 1/2″ by 1″ by 8′ pieces of wood. (Note: If you actually measure these pieces of wood, that is not their true lengths, but that is the lengths they give at hardware stores.)

(2) Cut each piece of wood  into four 2′ pieces to make four bases.

(3) Stack them on top of eachother like in the picture, and fasten them with screws or liquid nails (which doesn’t leave any holes). Clamp them together to dry (if you own clamps).

(4) Drill a screw for your decimal point.

(5) Buy four 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ by 2′ pieces of plexi glass. Usually you have to get these cut for you.

(6) Stack the plexi glass on top of wood and fasten with silicon. Silicon is good because it’s clear. You can’t use screw with plexi glass because it tends to break. Clamp these together to dry (if you can).

Now the main piece is done. You can make the little pieces by writing on plexiglass with a permanent marker. I had about fifty 1/2″ by 2 1/2″ by 2″ pieces cut for me.

If you don’t want to make your own place value slider, then the toys below are pretty much the most popular ones for teaching place value. I haven’t seen anything like what I made here, but if you have then please let me know!

Place Value Flip Stand

Counting and Place Value Pocket Chart

Place Value Dice

Place Value Chart


Entry filed under: Manipulatives, Number Sense and Operations. Tags: , .

Model Drawing Strict is not a bad word.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Click below to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 23 other followers

%d bloggers like this: