The Ultimate Place Value Championship is a FUN and easy way to help students practice identifying place value. I host the championship at the end of this math chapter. Essentially, it is a matching game that is played for several rounds. Students become paired with others working at their level. The student or students with the most rounds won is crowned the classroom Ultimate Place Value Champion(s)! It is during these math championships that my students really become excited and truly began to grasp and retain the process.
How to play the game:
Print and cut out the cards. I like to print the answer cards on one color of cardstock and the problems on another. Spread out the answer cards face up on a desk between the 2 players. It is also possible to play with a group of 3. Place the problem cards face down in a shuffled pile. Have players alternate drawing a problem card, finding the place value of the underlined digit and searching for the matching answer card. The player with the most matches wins that round!
2 label options for the storage envelope, anchor charts, a practice page, game cards, answer keys, instruction cards, and 2 versions of Ultimate Math Champion recognition certificates. 2 versions of the winner’s pyramid are provided. One has pre-drawn bands for 6 rounds. The other is blank, so you can have your class play the amount of rounds that suits your schedule best.
There are 3 place value charts. One ranges from units to billions. The second ranges from thousandths to billions. The third also ranges from thousandths to billions, but also includes examples of standard form, expanded form, and word form.
Students can practice writing numbers on the place value chart with multiple blank boxes. I use this seprately from the game. I give each student a copy, call out a number, and have them write those numbers in the blank boxes. I show them the correct way to write it (using my document projector) after each number I call out and allow them to correct it on their papers if needed.
How to create “A Championship”:
1. Generate excitement! During the introduction of the game and rules, play up the title, have the students do a drumroll tap on the top of their desks as a build up for introducing the pyramid.
2. Create a safe learning atmosphere.
Before handing out any game cards, it’s important to have a class discussion about “safe learning environments”. I always stress that we all have different strengths, we are a classroom family, and here to build each other up. I tell them that the world, even the playground, can be full of critical people. But, our classroom MUST be a safe space where we do not tease each other or point out others’ difficulties. Kindness must be practiced at all times in our room, and there will be consequences for teasing. My students have generally agreed that they do not want to be ridiculed for something they haven’t mastered yet, and promise not to ridicule others for not always coming out on top.**Once four people are left in the bottom color band, I cross out all 4 names and move them to the next color band.
3. The Pyramid
The goal of the championship is to find the Ultimate Math Champion. In round 1 , I list all my student’s names in one color at the bottom of the pyramid provided. I project it on my whiteboard using a document projector. You could also use a smartboard. The students then pair up, and play the matching game. The winner of that round crosses their name off the list and writes it in the next band above using a new color.
In round 2, I pair students up again to play the card game. This time their opponent must be from the same color band they are in.
Using the next page as an example, Marcus & Sam might play each other because they both lost the last round and are still in the purple band while Kalie & Hunter could play each other because they have both won 2 rounds and are both in the orange band. Again, the winner of the round gets to cross their name off, and list it above in the next color band.
I only play one round per day with my class. We may skip days too. We end up playing 5 or 6 rounds, and the person or people at the top of the color band pyramid are proclaimed the Ultimate Math Champions for that topic. They are pretty excited just being recognized with the title, but you can also reward them with the included certificates and/or small prizes.
Students will start being paired by ability level as the pyramid grows. This helps math review becomes less intimidating. When a certain topic is completely beyond a students grasp, I have paired lower level learners together to practice a topic on their level. For example, I’ve had two 6th graders playing the long division version while the rest of the class played the geometry version.
When I received a call from my principal that the superintendent of our large school district was visiting our site and they would be coming by MY classroom in 20 minutes, I knew this was the activity that I wanted them to see. My students were familiar with the game, so I quickly set it up. The superintendent walked around my room and observed the class. On his way out, he stopped to offer me a compliment. The said that he was so impressed with the class and activity. He continued to tell me how he was happy to see how engaged the kids were and how impressed he was with their actual deep knowledge of the math concepts. I could not have been happier with walk through that day!
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