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Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Place Value: Application and Extension (Pre K-2)

Estimating and Checking

Present to your students the task of estimating how many objects are in any empty container you have. You can use any math manipulative for this activity, but I like to use snacks, such as these gummy frogs or popcorn or peanuts in the shell, because it interests children.
Then ask one student to take the counters out of the container and begin counting them out on a Place Value Counting Board. This is a pleasureable way to learn estimating skills if you do this regularly with different counters and different containers of all sorts of shapes and sizes.

After you have done this several times, you can increase the amount of counters you are usings as well. Initially their estimates will not be so accurate this time, as the numbers you work with are higher. Give your students chances to change their estimates as they go along because the object is for them to get better at estimating, not winning against each other. Once you have completed your estimating exercise and are ready to hand out the counters for a snack, first have them figure out the quickest and easiest way to divide the crackers equally.

Peas in the Pod

First show your students unshelled peas and ask them how many peas on the average are in each pea pod. Record their guesses. You can make a graph of their predictions.
Now open the pea pods and have them count how many peas are on each side, counting one side at a time and recording the numbers as an addition problem. (Number of peas on left side plus number of peas on the right side equals how many peas altogether.) Put the peas in a cup and place the cup on a graph according to the total number of peas in the pod. Repeat this until all the pods have been opened and graphed. How close was the average to the predictions?
If you have older children, have them figure out the average number of peas in pods by adding together all the answers to the equations and dividing by the number of equations you did. Was the average the same as the average on the graph?


Students place Unifix cubes around the perimeter of the base design, snap the cubes together into sticks of tens, count them and record the total. This is repeated many times for the various designs of six to ten.

Geoboard Designs

The student makes a shape on the geoboard using one large band. At first students can cover the pegs inside the one shape with one color of Unifix cubes and the pegs on the outside with a second color Unifix cubes. They then take the Unifix cubes off and record each number and the total number of pegs on their paper. (Worksheet for this can be found here.) After they have become more accomplished with counting, they can just count the pegs and record their numbers as addition problems of their own making.

The Store

You will need to pick out about ten to fifteen common store-bought items with the prices clearly marked. If they do not have the prices on them, use stickers to price them yourself.
 Also print out some blank addition cards.   Students can pick two items and write down their prices. If they also write the name of the item, it is easier to check their answers later. Students can imagine they have a dollar to spend and them subtract each item from the dollar to determine the change. You can also use real money for this game, but it is not necessary. (More about an example of a store game here.)

I will be adding more activities as we do them:

The Movie Theatre

Determining Prices

Base Ten Unifix Patterns

Counting Jars of Objects

Estimating and Graphing

Unifix Stacks

Recording Number Patterns from Row, Column and Diagonal Patterns with Unifix Cubes

Recording Number Patterns from Surrounding Patterns



  1. I like those blank addition cards, that's a cool idea.

    And completely unrelated to your post, but I didn't know there were gummy frogs......

    1. I think that one could find just about anything in Gummy form.


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