Teaching Kids How to Represent 3-Digit Numbers

How to Teach Representing 3-Digit Numbers blog post

In this blog post, you will learn different teaching tips, strategies, and activities to help your 1st and 2nd grade students learn how to represent 3-digit numbers. The representing numbers activities in this blog post will help you teach the strategies of using number names, base-ten, and expanded notation/form to master these NBT standards.

Common Core Math Standards

1.NBT.3: Compare two two-digit numbers based on meanings of the tens and ones digits, recording the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, and <.

2.NBT.3: Read and write numbers to 1000 using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form.

Anchor Chart

Anchor charts for ways to represent numbers

To begin this NBT.3 unit, use anchor charts to introduce the different ways to represent numbers to your students. These will be great companions to your direct teaching. After going over these anchor charts, hang them up in the classroom so the students can reference them throughout the unit. These anchor charts are an effective way for your students to see the step-by-step process of representing numbers with each strategy.

Start Representing Numbers in Daily Calendar

Calendar time is a good opportunity to practice representing numbers on a daily basis. By incorporating number names, base-ten, and expanded notation from the first day of school, your students will already be familiar with this skill when it comes time to dive in during math class. In doing this, your students will review and practice these strategies on a daily basis, thus, helping it stick in their memory.

Start with Base-Ten

represent numbers with base 10 anchor chart and activity

The first strategy for representing numbers is to use base-ten. Using base-ten blocks or cutouts of base-ten blocks is an effective and hands-on way for students to practice representing numbers. They also serve as a great visual aid for students as they manipulate the numbers. Using these base-ten representing numbers activities alongside the base-ten anchor chart will help your students understand and practice this strategy. They can use the examples on the chart to guide them with the number cards they draw.

Introduce Number Names

Number names anchor chart

The next strategy for representing numbers is using number names. This is an important skill for students to learn as it relates to writing and real-life activities such as writing checks, reports, etc. This anchor chart will show them the rules and process for representing numbers with number names. Use the representing numbers activities to practice matching the numeral to the correct number name. This activity can be done in small groups, partners, or individually.

Teach About Expanded Notation

Expanded notation is the last strategy for representing 3-digit numbers. Once again, using an anchor chart to teach this strategy is helpful in modeling the steps and definition. This is often the most difficult strategy to learn, so be sure to explicitly teach it and allow ample practice opportunities for your students.

Expanded form anchor chart and activity

Modeling this strategy is key. Your students will need to see many expanded form examples in order to grasp the concept and be successful on their own. Use this representing numbers activity with the anchor charts and number cards to work through examples together. This would be a great small group activity, transitioning the students to completing it individually when they are ready.

Expanded form concrete activity

Using concrete examples such as this representing numbers activity allows students to visually see the hundreds, tens, and ones place merge together to make the 3-digit number. This will help them understand the three strategies above even better. Use these visuals when practicing base-ten, number names, and expanded notation.

Tie All 3 In Together

Activity for practicing strategies for representing numbers

Hands-on practice is definitely going to make perfect when it comes to representing 3-digit numbers. These activities combine all of the strategies and allow the students to practice in a tactile manner. These representing numbers activities tie in all the different ways to represent numbers, which helps the students make connections and master this skill. They will choose a 3-digit number and represent it in each way.

Don’t Forget to Differentiate

Differentiated activity for representing numbers

Differentiation is going to be key with this skill. Some students will master it right away while others need more practice. Included in these resources are activities for differentiating at each level. Use these activities during math groups to reteach, review, and enrich each representing numbers strategy for your students. Students may be at a different level depending on the strategy, as one strategy may come easily to them while another is more difficult.

Suggested Resources You May Like

Representing Numbers activity bundle

All of the resources shown in this blog post are found in my standards-based 2nd grade 2.NBT.3 pack. This is part of my 2nd Grade NBT bundle. Click the button below to view these representing numbers resources.

If you are simply looking for supplemental place value resources to help your students practice representing numbers, these practice pages for 1st and 2nd grade are perfect. They also align to common core NBT standards.

Thanks for reading this week’s blog post all about representing numbers. For more math blogs, check these out…


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