A whole class activity to consolidate understanding of place value.


  • Cards with the correct number of digits (2, 3 or 4) – large enough for display
  • Card with the individual partitioned elements of the numbers for display – for individual pupils.

Learning Outcomes – Number and Place Value

Year 2 – recognise the place value of each digit in a two-digit number (tens, ones)
Year 3 – recognise the place value of each digit in a three-digit number (hundreds, tens, ones)
Year 4 – recognise the place value of each digit in a four-digit number (thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones)


1. Display numbers around the classroom (either 2, 3 or 4 digit numbers, depending on your objective).

2. Give each child in the class/group an individual card, containing a partitioned element of one of the displayed numbers (e.g. if you have displayed the number 458, one child in the class/group will have a card with the number 400, another with the number 50 and a third with the number 8).

3. Explain to the class/group that they have to find the displayed number to which their card belongs. If they have selected correctly, they will have created a small group whose cards come together to create the displayed number.

4. Allow the children time to find their correct ‘number’. Once each pupil has chosen, each group should state their displayed number, their cards and the rest of the class/group should decide if they have chosen correctly.

Extension ideas

  • Complete the activity in a larger area (e.g. hall/playground). Children can then collect cards around the space that make the number they have been given (e.g. in the example of 458, the child would have this number card and have to look around for a 400, 50 and 8 card).
  • Instead of displaying the numbers around the classroom, give some of the children these cards so that children have to work harder to find the correct group they belong to. This will encourage more speaking and listening and discussion around which place value cards are the correct ones.

Top tips

  • Ensure you have discussed health and safety with the pupils – moving around the area safely and removing any trip hazards.
  • Support less able/confident pupils by colour coding the numbers and cards (e.g. pupils with a red card would go to the red number).
  • Add an element of competition by asking pupils to sit down once they think they have a complete group to make their number. This way it is easier to spot who has finished first.

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