Maths Activity: Mathepillar

It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you fun maths activities that you could engage your children with, so I figured, why not spice up what you read with something different this time, rather than just another set of parental advice?

Today, we have a very colourful activity called “Place Value ‘Pillars”.  To clarify, a place value is a system where the position of a digit in a number determines its value. For example, in the number, 3,582, “3” is in the thousands place and its value is 3,000. “5” is in the hundreds place and its value is therefore 500.

And with that, the point of our game today is to teach your children about the place value system and how to tell which number is in which place. But first…

Preparation
First, please print out the following PDF file for free: https://docdro.id/dJNC7nb After it’s printed, you need to cut and assemble together the paper die (which is why it’s best if you print it on a card stock to make the die more sturdy; I also recommend using a glue gun to make the assembly more convenient). Please also print the game cards as well. The PDF file contains two sets of game cards; one is labeled with number sequences (thousands, hundreds, tens, ones, etc.) while the other is absent of such guides for the more advanced students who are confident with such sequences. Print whichever suits your child’s skill level.

How to Play
If you have more than one child, ensure that each of them gets one game card. The numbers on both cards of the PDF are the same, so feel free to print as many copies of either cards as you need.

To start the game, simply roll the die you’ve assembled with your children. Whichever place value is indicated on the die, colour in the entire circle surrounding the number on the game card.  If the die instructs your child to colour the largest or smallest number, and there are two of that number in the same row, choose whichever one of them to colour in.

Roll the die again and colour in another number in the next row. You will only colour a single number per row. Rinse and repeat until you’ve reached the final row on the game card.

Objective
The objective of the game is to connect as many numbers as you can in a single column (see picture 1). Compete with each other to see whom could make the longest Mathepillar!

This simple but colourful activity is yet another simple example of how you could get your child excited about learning maths. Try it out and see if you could come up with similar activities such as this!