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Number of the Day Activities

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • April 23, 2019, 11:03 a.m.

Place value is the foundation of conceptual understanding in Math, which is why it is so important that we have strategies to quickly engage students in practicing their place value skills with and without manipulatives. To help students deepen their understanding, give students a new number each day to explore. "Number of the day" can be used as a warm-up activity, a small group discussion activity, or in a math station.



Here are some ways to guide your students in exploring the daily number:


1. How many ways can you describe the number?

Give a time limit and have students write down as many different ways to describe the number as they can think of. For example, if the number is 27, they could say it has 2 tens and 7 ones, it is odd, 20+7, 30-3, etc.

Students will then compare ideas with a partner or small group. They can earn a point for every way they described the number that their partner did not.


2. The answer is______. What is the problem?

Given the number, students can write equations or word problem for the given number. For example, let's say the number is 21. Students can write 3 x 7=21 or something like "Jack had 3 boxes of cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery. Each box had 7 cupcakes in it. How many cupcakes did he have to share with his two sons?"


3. Write a story or letter from the perspective of the number of the day. The students should determine an audience and a message. For example, if the number is 9, you might write a letter to 7 explaining what they have in common and how they are different. Be sure and read the story 7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar, a mentor text for playing with numbers and words.



Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

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Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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