Place value is one of the main concepts in the mathematics curriculum and sometimes teaching place value can be quite difficult to do. So to help my students with this, I created this simple printable place value slider. It helps understand place value from decimals up to a million and easily demonstrates the KS2 maths ideas behind multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1,000.

Printable Place Value Slider

place value slider

The idea is that the place value slider is printed out and laminated. (You can put multiple ones on an A4 sheet if you like to make it quicker for them to do lots of calculations). The children are then given a transparent laminating sheet which they write their numbers on. They can then move the numbers up and down the slider to demonstrate multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1,000.

I like to demonstrate how it works using the visualiser first so that the children fully understand the concept involved. Also, if we're multiplying by 10, I'll write on the board to move one place to the right. (I usually teach the children to count the number of zeroes and move that many places.)

Here's an example of a student writing 24 on the place value slider:

place value slider

Now to divide that number by 10, they simply move the number one place to the right - like so:

place value slider

The place value slider reinforces the idea that we don't move the decimal point, we move the number. I've been using this technique for years and its amazing how quickly the children pick this idea up. It's useful to use as scaffolding too if children have forgotten the method or need some reassurance that they're on the right track.

Understanding place value is important because it helps children understand the magnitude of numbers, serves as a solid foundation for many of the KS2 maths objectives in the national curriculum and helps with progression in maths at primary school.


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