Understanding place value is important because it helps you understand the magnitude of numbers. Because of place value we know 30 is 10 times bigger than 3 which is a hundred times bigger than 0.03. This would not have been possible with Roman Numerals as they do not have a decimal point, or zero for that matter. Egyptian numerals evolved to include unit fractions but with their complex hieroglyphs place value was still in its infancy.
In secondary school mathematics the place value table underpins so many fundamental mathematical concepts. For students to begin to appreciate the size of a number or how to write numbers in words they need to have a secure understanding of its application.
At the start of every school year I like to go back to using the place value table with Year 7 and Year 8 students.
With Year 7s we use it to:
With Year 8s we use it to:
When I teach rounding to a significant figure, I ask the class to discuss in pairs or small groups a definition for the word significant. It is a word that all the students have heard before but not all are able to define. After 2 or 3 minutes of conversation I ask the students to […]
When calculating instantaneous rates of change students need to visualise the properties of the gradient for a straight line graph. I use the starter activity to see if they can match four graphs with their corresponding equations. The only clue is the direction and steepness of the red lines in relation to the blue line […]
Fractions, decimals and percentages are ways of showing a proportion of something. Any fraction can be written as a decimal, and any decimal can be written as a percentage. In this blog I discuss how to use the place value table and equivalent fractions to illustrate how fractions, decimals and percentages are connected. You can […]