• Teacher Tips

Tips For Teaching Place Value

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Many schools have now adopted a 'teaching for mastery approach' in Maths. The change in the National Curriculum back in 2014 called for a balance between fluency, reasoning and problem solving. I know that Maths lesson today looked different a while back...the focus would be on methods and knowing a range of strategies for solving problems, then perhaps solving the problems on a Friday where examples were unpicked and the strategies applied. Whilst those methods were effective, the mastery approach to Maths now encourages more exploration of a mathematical concept and an attitude that everyone can succeed in learning Maths. Discovery and fascination are words that are brought to the forefront, as well as representation, flexibility and coherence. Maths is an exciting subject to teach and to lead.

One of the key ideas behind the teaching for mastery approach is that children are taught fewer topics but in more detail. The concepts taught will always draw on children's prior knowledge. A heavy focus at the start of the school year is Place Value. To aid teaching place value I have rounded up some great resources to check out.

Place value: Online teaching resources

Maths Bot

www.mathsbot.com - Don't be put off when you see GCSE at the top of the page when you get there! Scroll down and you will find a wealth of resources available to use when showing the structure of the maths.

Maths Learning Centre

www.mathlearningcenter.org - This website has an online Number Pieces app (Base 10), Number Frames app (5 and 10 frames), Number Rack app (Abacus) and Number line app. It's simple, versatile and has the added benefit that the apps can be downloaded onto school iPads for the children to use themselves.

White Rose Maths Interactive resources

https://whiterosemaths.com/resources/classroom-resources/interactive-whiteboard-resources/ - Register for free with White Rose Maths Hub to get downloadable interactive whiteboard resources that have been carefully prepared to support visual representation for each block (or unit) of learning.

BBC Super Movers

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/supermovers/ks1-maths-collection/z6v4scw - I only recently found out about this collection of videos recently when working with one of my schools. It's brilliant! Silly songs and dances with good content will engage your class whilst helping them to learn basic facts.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b08bzfnh/numberblocks - Debbie Morgan (Primary Director of the NCETM) developed these fascinating videos to help our youngest pupils understand mathematical concepts. Primarily aimed at EYFS, I have found that Key Stage 1 children love these clever and colourful little characters too! The clips are short and can be dropped in at different times of the day. You will not be disappointed with the set of slides that are available to support from the NCETM website. https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/52060

Place value: Physical resources

Many of these resources can be found in schools now. Check to see if you have them at yours.

Counting rods/ Cuisenaire rods:

Cuisenaire rods show the structures of maths in many many ways. The e-book 'Cuisenaire from Early Years to Adult' provides endless possibilities of showing mathematical concepts and includes activities to practice. These rods are key in helping children see the relationship between numbers as well as equality and inequality. Watch this video to see the potential of these rods. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbsPK3LXVLc 'Call one anything you like'.

Double sided counters:

When looking at bonds to any number these double sided counters are invaluable. When looking at the bonds to 5 the children can lay down 5 counters then play around with turning some over and recording a number sentence.

Base 10:

An essential in every classroom from EYFS to KS2. The best sets are the sets that interlock. Children must experience connecting 10 blocks to see why they use a diene instead of ten blocks. Once they are used to feeling the connection of ten blocks they will understand that it is more efficient to use a diene. Also, they will understand that the diene can be taken apart when they need to regroup for addition or subtraction.


Children can easily compare values up to 10 by laying smaller pieces on top of larger pieces. Numicon is also weighted so children can use bucket balances to explore equality and inequality. It's great in continuous provision for EYFS and KS1 to play with in the sand or playdough. These should be put in individual pots on shelves so children can sort and organise the pieces after play.

Place value: Online games for Key Stage 1


play.numbots.com - This game comes from the same family as the TT Rockstars. TT Rockstars is suitable for Year 2 upwards. The younger children can access Numbots which is an interactive game that gets more difficult the more levels the children achieve. Themed around a rusty robot and earning cogs to buy new shiny parts, it engages children whilst helping them learn. It's something to buy into but the guys at MathsCircle are great at giving out free trials before you purchase.



A collection of games based around place value.

ICT Games


A range of interactive activities that are accessible on tablets.



NRich offers games and activities to deepen learning. It's great because each activity provides suggestions for differentiating by support or challenge.



This site includes teaching videos and interactive follow up games...perfect for extending learning for home.

Third Space Learning


This blog post has 10 place value games for KS1 and KS2. Worth checking out.

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