Quick and Easy Place Value Activities (Try These to Boost Number Sense!)

Do you wish you had a way to easily spiral place value skills throughout the year – so your students continue to boost their understanding even after your place value unit is complete? Mystery Numbers place value activities are designed to do just that.

“My students look forward to mystery number each week. We are using it remotely as a way to start our Math thinking. I share the list of numbers with students and then we go through the clues together. I am proud to say my students have been beginning to predict what clue might come next based one the numbers left. It was been so very engaging for them. I look forward to continue using this even when we return in person.” – Karen

Mystery Numbers: Quick and Easy Place Value Activities

To complete a mystery number activity, students read a clue and use that clue to eliminate one or more of the numbers. This continues until there is just one number left. The clues involve essential skills like place value, odd/even, rounding, greater than/less than, and more. This is a great way for students to use their knowledge in a meaningful way.

“This was a great way to get my students to really think about numbers. They loved making their guesses and then being able to change their guess as they received new information. I used it as an informal assessment of their understanding of place value.” -Ruth

Mystery Numbers Make Differentiation Easy

Mystery Numbers are ideal for differentiation. Because you can choose from 2-digit, 3-digit, 4-digit, 5-digit, fractions, and decimals, there is something for every ability level…and students don’t need to know that their work is any different from someone else’s. This allows you to truly meet the needs of your students. For example, in your classroom you might have a few students working on 2-digit mystery numbers, while you work in a small group on some 4-digit mystery numbers. Students that are ready for something more challenging may even be working on fraction mystery number activities!

“LOVE these! They are really wonderful for boosting number sense, having students apply their thinking and making students read the questions/clues carefully!!” -Hayley

Because Mystery Numbers are available in both print and digital format, they can be used in the classroom or from home. If you choose to use the PDF versions in your classroom, you may also choose to put them inside plastic sheet protectors to save on paper.

Mystery Numbers are fantastic for many uses in the classroom. They’re a quick and easy way to reinforce place value skills all through the year. Here are how some teachers use them:

  • as a 5-minute time filler or math warm-up
  • to get kids excited about math at the beginning of math class
  • as a pre or post assessment of place value skills
  • as an early finisher activity
  • to inspire students to try writing their own mystery number activities (fantastic for critical thinking!)

“I love these especially for getting my students’ minds ready for math.  They’re so engaged trying to figure out the mystery number not realizing that they’re using (and learning) key vocabulary terms and concepts.” -Patricia

If you’d like to try Mystery Number place value activities in your classroom, here are the links to get started:

2-Digit Mystery Numbers

3-Digit Mystery Numbers

4-Digit Mystery Numbers

5-Digit Mystery Numbers

Decimal Mystery Numbers

Fraction Mystery Numbers

Or see the entire Mystery Bundle (and make it easy to differentiate to all your students) HERE.


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