# Place Value Tent Cards

Do you struggle to find a way to teach place value that works for every student? Place Value Tent Cards are a great way to integrate hands-on learning into place value. All students love using these, and it helps make understanding more concrete.

I’d love to tell you a bit about how I’ve used these Place Value Tents in my classroom. At the end of this post, I’ll show you where you can download these for free!

The tent cards that I use include numbers up to 90 000. Each place value group is copied and laminated using a different color of copy paper (this is very important!!).

Each place value group includes the numbers from 1-9. For example, the yellow “ones” cards include the numbers from 1-9. The pink “tens” tent cards include the numbers from 10-90. The blue “hundreds” tent cards include the numbers from 100-900. This continues for the “thousands” and “ten thousands” tent cards.

Okay, so now you know what the tent cards are. But how do you use them in your classroom?
Each student should have his/her own set of cards (yes, that means a lot of photocopying and laminating for you, but once it is done, you can use these for years and years)! I get the students to set the cards out in piles on their desks like this. Each pile should be in order from least to greatest or greatest to least.

Then, I ask them to make a number, for example “867.” To make the number 867, the students need to take the blue “800” card, the pink “60” card and the yellow “7.” Then, they stack them on top of one another like this:

Now, a big teachable moment will come when one student inevitably does this:

In the above picture, the number 867 is made up of 3 yellow “ones” cards. If a student does this, it is the perfect time to reinforce the fact that the number 867 is not an 8, a 6 and a 7; rather, it is an 800, a 60 and a 7. Additionally, remind students that you can’t put a “one” in the tens or hundreds place.

Now, hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen. This is my favorite part. Once you have confirmed that all students have formed the number correctly, you ask them to take it apart and what do you get? Ta daaaa! Expanded form! You’re amazed, right?!
Sometimes I get students to record the number and the expanded form as 867=800+60+7, but most of the time we just work with the cards and don’t write anything down.
These cards can be tricky to store without losing, but the best method that I have found is the good old large zip-loc bag. Before the end of class, I allow at least 5 minutes for students to re-pile the cards IN ORDER from least to greatest (this is great practice for ordering numbers). They get very fast with this process after a few practices. Then we put them into the bags and I store them in a large container for next time.

I was given the templates for these tent cards at a professional development session by Manitoba Education when I first started teaching, but I searched online and found where you can download them from (for free)! Just click here, and then scroll down to where it says “Blackline Masters for the Classroom.” They are the “Place Value Tents.” You can choose to print off only the ones, tens and hundreds or all the way to hundred thousands. Just remember to copy each different place value on a different color of paper!

Hope these are helpful to your place value instruction!

Looking for more place value resources? Check out these fun ways to work with place value in your classroom!

### 23 Comments

• I am entering my first year of teaching and just finished cutting and sorting out my place value tents. I received them in University but was not totally sure how I was going to use them in my class, thanks for the great, detailed instructions.

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• Shelley, that was awesome! I'll be sharing this with my colleagues at school… The first thing we teach at the start of each school year is definitely place value, so this great tutorial you put here is going to be very helpful! I'll make some tent cards of my own too. – Nyla

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• I made some of these last years and used them with my students. It really helps them understand that the 1 in 817 does not have a value of 1 but of 10. Love it!

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• Am going to get them printed ASAP. Thanks so much for sharing…Patricia

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• AWESOME!! Love this and plan to use it next week. Thanks a million!

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• Thanks, Shelley – what a fantastic idea! I'm totally going to use these this year.

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• Hi Shelley. I arrived at your blog by following a link on The Lesson Cloud. Thanks for sharing this great, hands-on idea. I'm going to try it this fall. I might even try letting the students make their own tents, a set that they can keep. Thanks again!

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• What a great idea! These are any easy way to teach hands on. Thanks for sharing.

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• I had been searching for something to use for place value. This is such a great idea! I cannot wait to use it. This is an outstanding site! Thank you!

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• This is an awesome way to teach place value! I wish I could have used it in my classroom while I was teaching! I'll have to remember to break them out for my own kids! I'm a new follower – great site!

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• Fabulous!!! Simply great! I'm a follower!! You have great ideas in teaching young students math!!!! Thanks!!!

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• Great idea! Can't wait to use these with my students. I also saw an idea where the numbers were written on cups and could be stacked inside one another to create the number.

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• Thanks for this great idea and the great website to go get my own. I'll be printing and making as soon as I can get my hands on a printer.
I found you through TBA. <

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• Thanks for doing the leg work on these! I had seen them somewhere but couldn't find them…until now! You're the best!

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• Love these. Thanks so much fjor sharing.

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• I really like this. I have been having a hard time with place value. Can't wait to get this into their hands. Thanks for sharing.

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• Absolutely love your no-nonsense way to teach math as well as your williness to share this with others!! Thank you so much 🙂

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• Thanks so much for the place value tents. I will definitely move these to the top of my summer to-do list. They’re a great resource.

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