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Sliding Place Value Chart

Week two of the 2014-2015 school year is now completed.  In math we  learned that each place value is ten times as much as the one on the right, and one-tenth of the one on the left. As a visual learner, I wanted to make sure to “show” my students how this works. We started with base ten blocks as suggested by the textbook. Some students understood, but a large group of them were still looking at me a bit confused on how this translates to the place value chart.  Therefore, I decided to make a sliding place value chart. With this chart they could now “see” how it translates.  Since it worked so well, I thought I’d share how I made it.  (Warning: it takes quite a few steps, but not very long to make.)

First, I started off with these supplies.

I folded the blue paper in half (ahem...hamburger style). Then folded again, then again.


Next, I cut two slits in the folded edge, and made a third cut vertically to cut out a rectangle. When I unfolded it, the result was the picture on the right. 


I repeated this process with another sheet so I would end up with eight rectangles. I proceeded to tape the two sheets together, and cut the left rectangle off so it would end up with 7 squares (I wanted to have seven place values - up to the millions place value - so I took one off).  


While I was in the middle of this process, I decided I wanted to color code the periods, so I made the 'ones' period green, the 'thousands' period blue and the 'millions' place orange. At the moment, I really wished I owned decorative tape, but since I didn't, I decided to cut strips of colored construction paper, and frame them around the windows.  This part took the longest, but I felt it would be worth it in order to help students visualize it better. 

I added another piece of the blue construction paper to the end and cut it a bit. This will help hide some of the background paper. 

Next, I took the same color construction paper and cut it about two inches taller than the windows. I did this to three sheets and then taped them together so that they would be the length of the chart. 

I repeated the process with the yellow construction paper, but cut it about an inch smaller than the blue since this is the part that will slide through the two blue construction papers. I made sure, however, to leave the yellow paper a bit longer so it would be easier to grasp when I needed to slide the yellow paper.
I then wrote the number 1 in the first window and wrote zeroes in the following windows. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this process, but it will be clear in the final picture.)

I then wrote the place value titles above each rectangle, laminated the pieces individually, and cut them out, but I did not cut out the windows. (Although, as I think about it, you probably could and it the system would work the same.)

Lastly, I taped the blue paper to the back of the chart and then slid the yellow paper between the two. 

The end product turned out like this: 

As you can see, the lamination allows you to write on the chart. I also use sticky notes to change the number. 


I hope this "thrifty" idea helps you to create similar "sliding" charts that will help your students visualize concepts. 

Your Thrifty Co-Teacher,


1 comment

  1. Very cool! Thanks for sharing! I am thinking of some other possibilities for a sliding chart.

    The Math Maniac