Understanding how place value works is a fundamental concept in mathematics. It is crucial in calculations to understand what the value of each digit within a number is.

Our base-10 number system means that the value of a digit is determined by its place within the number.

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Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

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Resources

• Download our number pack for some terrific place value resources (and lots more about understanding number!).

Number Facts

• The decimal place value system is based on the number 10.
• Place value allows you to write any number, no matter how big or small, using only the digits 0-9!
• Place value tells us how much each digit in a number is worth. For example, the digit 8 could represent 8 tens (in 86) or 8 thousands (in 8734).
• In any number, whole numbers are placed to the left of the decimal point, and fractions of numbers to the right of it. For example, in 1.5 the 1 represents 1 whole, and the 5 represents 5/10, or 1/2.
• Place value systems were developed by several early civilisations, including the Babylonians. The system we use started in India and started to spread across the world in the 8th century.

Videos

NUMBERJACKS | Tens Moments

A fun episode of Numberjacks that explains how the digits 1 and 0 represent 10.

Running time: 14:02

Fun Place Value Activity Using Cups

This short video demonstrates using stacking cups to model place value, up to millions.

Running time: 1:04

Place value. 5 min maths for Year 5

A quick lesson on finding 100 more and 100 less up to one million.

Running time: 4:54

Place Value and Partitioning

Mr K gives a clear explanation of partitioning.

Running time: 3:20

Books

A Place for Zero

Join Zero as he finds his place!

Heinemann Maths 2 Workbook 2

A workbook suitable for those working on place value up to 20.

Year 6 Maths Reasoning

Use this book to revise number and place value.

WHAT'S THE POINT OF MATHS?

This terrific maths reference book traces the history of counting systems, and many other aspects of everyday maths.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!