First, depending on which skill level you are teaching, you will need to create some paper cards of numbers you want students to explore during the lesson. I just used a marker to write them out on paper and then cut them into cards.
Then, depending on the range, create little labels with your pieces of paper to show all of the place values that are present in your number list range. To go with the example above, I’ve made labels for Hundreds, Tens, and Ones. Again, I just used a marker and paper, cutting them out to the size I want. You could print out, laminate or use cardboard to make them last longer.
Next, place some Playdough onto the desk where the activity will be carried out. Mold the Playdough into a rectangular prism (it doesn't have to be perfect).. The larger the numbers you are exploring, the longer your Playdough rectangle ‘platform’ will need to be.
I know, not quite the masterpiece you were expecting!!
Place a spaghetti stick vertically into the Playdough for each Place Value spot you are exploring. So in my example below I only need three. Then position your Place Value labels (Hundreds, Tens, Ones), under each stick to show the place value position of a number.
Place Cheerios on the desk for the activity. Provide either blank pieces of paper for your students to use OR download and print off the template I have included for free below.
Tell your students that they will need to use the Cheerios to build onto the Spaghetti sticks to represent the numbers you have listed. Each time they make a number, instruct them to record the drawing of the number on a piece of paper (or onto the template provided).
make it
Explain that each spaghetti stick cannot ever have more than ten Cheerios placed on it.
Record it
After finishing the activity, conduct a reflection discussion about why you cannot put more than ten Cheerios on any spaghetti stick. Explore what students did, what they found easy/difficult; what they noticed. Talk about a Cheerio on each stick and talk about the value of a single Cheerio on a given stick depending on which Place Value position it has been put in.
The FREE template to go with this activity can be downloaded below. It comes with different place value levels for differentiation. I also included labels that can be printed off for place value positions up to Ten Thousands if you prefer to use for your Tower Labels.
Time to finish your unit on Place Value? Try this fun Place Value Math Mystery that helps review place value concepts in an exciting way!
It comes with an optional video introduction to gain your students' attention at the start ...Then hand over the activity for them to crack the case!
Find a grade level with place value skills that suits your kids best!
Students must use their place value skills to discover important clues!See who is successful in figuring out where the treasure is!
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AuthorA 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife. 
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