You will have learned place value, perhaps without realising. You use it every time you read a number.

A number is written using digits. In 236, the digits are 2, 3 and 6. The **place** or position of each digit in the number gives it its **value**.

You may have learned about ‘hundreds, tens and units’ when you were at school. Now teachers often use ‘ones’ instead of units, because ‘unit’ can have other meanings, for example a unit of measurement.

**How do children learn place value?**

In key stage 1 children begin to read and write two-digit numbers and recognise the place value of each digit.

They represent two-digit numbers with tens and ones blocks:

and in place value tables:

Tens | Ones |

5 | 3 |

and begin to **partition** numbers into tens and ones:

In key stage 2 they work with larger numbers, starting with hundreds:

Hundreds | Tens | Ones |

1 | 2 | 4 |

and thousands:

Thousands | Hundreds | Tens | Ones |

1 | 2 | 4 | 4 |

and then up to millions:

Millions | Hundred Thousands | Ten Thousands | Thousands | Hundreds | Tens | Ones |

4 | 5 | 7 | 2 | 1 | 0 | 8 |

‘four million, five hundred and seventy-two thousand, one hundred and eight’

**Decimal place value**

In key stage 2 children also begin to recognise and use place value of decimals , up to three decimal places.

Ones | . |
tenths | hundredths | thousandths |

3 | . |
1 | 0 | 7 |

‘three point one zero seven’

*Both numbers have 3 thousands. Look at the next place value place.*

*3027 has 0 hundreds*

*3152 has 1 hundred*

*So 3152 is larger than 3027*

*Put the largest digit in the highest place value: 7521*

*Put the smallest digit in the highest place value: 1257*

*7 hundred*

**Practice at home**

Read numbers you see around you with your child – for example house numbers in your street, car number plates, newspaper headlines, advertisements.

Compare numbers in real life contexts – for example which is less: £27 or £35?

Which is the largest football crowd: 5300 or 10200?

Practice spellings of numbers 1-20, the ‘tens’ 30, 40, 50, … and hundred, thousand, etc

**To practice place value with your child, Collins Maths Targeted Practice Workbooks are a great tool that target every topic covered in each school year. They include plenty of repeated practice to help your child do their best in Maths.**

*This article has been written by Katherine Pate.*