Place value is a concept in which students in elementary school struggle and instruction and curricular materials continue to introduce and teach place value in a disconnected fashion. This study introduced place value through a modeling perspective, focusing specifically on using the bar model to represent units and quantity. The investigation piloted a place value module highlighting the use of the bar model in four first grade classrooms with high percentages of diverse learners, many from low-income families and with limited English language proficiency. The results indicated students successfully described the differences between units of 1 and 10 and could build and describe numbers in their teens and twenties. Students’ vocabulary and understanding of place value improved over a three-week period, suggesting visual models can be used as an effective model to promote place value understanding.
This document was originally published in Journal of Mathematics and Education by Education for All. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Brendefur, Jonathan L.; Strother, Sam; and Rich, Kelli. (2018). "Building Place Value Understanding Through Modeling and Structure". Journal of Mathematics Education, 11(1), 31-45.