Suggested Online Resources for Place Value

These are suggested resources we have shared to our teachers during the 13th Annual MEAD Conference on Saturday, January 21st, 2017.  The short workshop focused on the topic of Place Value for grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.

Links to Websites with Online Interactive Games, Activities, or Videos

NCTM Illuminations on Place Value For Place Value Online Activity

Place Value Puzzler by “Funbrain”

Khan Academy Explanation of Place Value

 Math Play


Links to the Activities Used at the Workshop

Build a Number:


  1. Draw four cards where Jack is a 0 and A is a 1 (take out Q, 10, and K cards)
  2. With those four cards, build the largest number and smallest number. Write those two numbers down.
  3. Using the original numbers, round the smallest number to the nearest thousand. Round the largest number to the nearest hundred. Which rounded number is bigger? Which number has the biggest hundred?  Which number has the biggest ten?  Why?
  4. Shuffle out five cards. This time, write your number using a decimal and include a tenths, hundredths, and thousandths place.  Write it as your largest number and smallest number.
  5. How many tenths does the largest number have? How many tenths does the smallest number have?
  6. Look at your smallest number, what is digit is bigger, the digit in the hundredths place, or the digit in the thousandths place, why? Which digit has the greatest value?

Cup Stacking Activity:


                You need styrofoam cups (or any cups with a lip so you can write a digit on the lip).  Label each cup with a digit from 0-9 (I used a sharpie for this, and I wrote the digit on both sides of the lip).  Repeat for the number of cups you have.  The number of cups you need depend on the number of students playing, and how high you wish your numbers to go.  For a group of 3, playing to the hundred thousands, you will need 18 cups.  (I bought a pack of 20 at the dollar store).  To work with numbers in the billions, students would build a pyramid with 10 cups.

Links to Suggested Graphic Organizers: 







Math and Parent Partners Curriculum Materials are Free Online


With the changing demands of school budgets, the Math and Parent Partners (MAPPS) Center is now offering the curriculum materials at no cost to teachers and parents.  These are available online at the MAPPS Center website:

The mission of the MAPPS Center is to help children improve their mathematics skills.  To accomplish this, we enlist the support of the student’s peers, families, and their schools.  We also focus on changing the way we as teachers, parents, and students learn the mathematics and how we view ourselves as learners.  We can begin accomplishing this through explorations in math through cooperative learning, critical thinking tasks, and using different tools to help us achieve success.

We have had the privilege of seeing such a great shift as to how parents, teachers, and students learn the mathematics and we can continue sharing this experience by providing our materials to you at no cost.

When you are ready and open to receive training, consultation, or have questions regarding how to set this program up at your school, or site, contact us!


Links to the MAPPS Center Materials

Math for Parents K-4 Workshop Materials (English and Spanish) 

Math for Parents 5-8 Workshop Materials (English and Spanish) 

Math for Parents Mini-Course Materials 

Best Regards

Christina Grossman, MAPPS Center


Hosting Math for Parent Workshops at the University of Arizona

University of Arizona: Department of Mathematics

The Math for Parent Partners (MAPPS) Center is hosting workshops for parents and their school-age children to have fun learning mathematics! Sign up for one session, or all sessions! Hurry, as space is limited!

Cost: $40 per person, school-aged children are free

Location: University of Arizona, Mathematics Building,

617 N. Santa Rita Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721

Room: 501

Time: 5:45pm- 7:45pm


Dates of Sessions:

K-4th Grade Math for Parent Workshops:

  • Number Sense (Using Games to Develop Number Sense): K-2nd grade
    • Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
  • Number Sense (Using Games to Develop Number Sense) : 3rd and 4th grade
    • Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
  • Step by Step (Exploring Alternative Algorithms): K-4th grade
    • Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
  • What is Geometry? ( Exploring 2-Dimensional Shapes): K-4th grade
    • Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

5-8th Grade Math for Parent Workshops:

  • Garage Patterns (Exploring Patterns and Equations)
    • Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
  • Styles in Tiles (Developing Spatial Sense)
    • Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
  • Wrap It Up! (Geometry: Netting)
    • Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
  • Probability (Chance and Predictions)

o Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

For questions or help with registration, please e-mail or call (520) 621-6887

Last session of Geometry for Parents at Hohokam (2/27/09)

Tuesday was the final session of Geometry for Parents at Tucson’s Hohokam Middle School gym. The evening began with a Mexican buffet followed by recognition of district administrators who were there to help celebrate the occasion: Hohokam’s assistant principal, principals of the four feeder elementary schools, director of Native American Studies, elementary mathematics curriculum specialist, Title I Coordinator, and Title I Mathematics Project Specialist. (The latter two coordinate the MAPPS project at Hohokam and feeders.) There were more, but you get the idea. Lots of support. Lots of enthusiasm. They asked me to say a few words. I said “Math and Parents makes a powerful combo.Parents, because evidence shows that parental involvement in activities like MAPPS – engagement with classroom content – ranks at the top of factors that correlate with student success. Math, because it opens doors: it’s the key to success in future careers and the key to access to higher education.” I ended by telling them I hoped to see them at future MAPPS activities.

The formalities over, we got down to mathematics: building models of the regular polyhedra. Several tables of parents were clustered around one end of the gym. Each of the 40 or so parents got copies of patterns for each regular polyhedron to take home for building models with their kids. Each table also had sets of Polydron and other commercial plastic manipulatives. Using these, the parents set about in earnest to make 3-d models of the Platonic solids. Lots of success. Lots of showing everybody else the models they made.

The culminating activity was to build giant polyhedral frameworks out of dowels and connectors. Parents moved to the other end of the gym where they found piles of dowels (4ft long, 3/8” diameter) and connectors made out of small bolts and pieces of plastic tubing (just the right size for a dowel to fit snugly inside). Parents arranged themselves in four or five groups and set about making “life-size” regular polyhedral with dowels as edges and connectors as vertices. I saw one group making a cube – frustrated because it wouldn’t stand up! They pretty quickly turned to making polyhedra with triangular faces. Tetrahedra. Octahedra. Pretty easy. Finally, two groups formed, each attempting to make an icosahedron. One started by replicating, on the floor, a large version of the paper pattern. The other group just started putting it together – in the air. Some folk stuck dowels in the plastic tubing and made triangular faces.Others held the connectors in the air with the dowels stuck in and helped to keep the contraption from falling apart. A lot of cooperation. A lot of discussion of what to do next. A lot of puzzling over why it wasn’t coming together. Finally, someone looked at a small model and concluded that each connector had to have exactly 5 dowels – and that their “life size” model-in-progress had a couple of connectors with 6. Some careful removing of the “spurious” dowels.Some more adjusting. Then, all of a sudden, there it was! A complete, person-sized icosahedron! “We did it!” High fives all around. The finished model was person-high, about 5’8” off the ground. Some folk crawled inside to celebrate and get the feel of being “inside” an icosahedron. Cool.

The evening ended with prizes and certificates. Smiling parents walked out with newfound math friends, talking about getting back together for the next MAPPS event. I can’t wait.

[I had a long talk with Leslie afterwards. She said the course was a lot of hard work. Some of the elementary teachers had a hard time with some of the material (I think we observed that) and that parent attendance fell off in the middle after this material occurred. A lot of the facilitators said they really learned a lot about teaching and mathematics by teaching the course. Evidence that you can think of mounting a Math for Parents course as staff development for the facilitators.

Facilitators initially wanted to have all the sessions at one place, not split. Something about turf issues. The Hohokam folk wanted to teach all the time at Hohokam. Leslie wanted them to rotate. In the end, for the facilitators it was a bonding experience between Hohokam folk and feeder folk. The two groups wound up having respect for each other.Nice connection between a middle school and its feeders. Leslie is going to write up a report for Bill. Maybe she’ll include more details about some of these issues.]

Broad Impact of MAPPS Program at Hohokam (and feeders) (4/8/09)

The MAPPS mini-course, Geometry for Parents, ran from the first week of January to the last week of February, 2009, for parents of students from Hohokam Middle School or one of its feeder elementary schools: Lawrence, Johnson, Maldonado, and Miller. Also, throughout the 2008 – 2009 school year, fifteen two-hour, stand-alone Math for Parents – MAPPS Workshops took place throughout the five schools. The facilitators for both mini-course and workshops were teachers from the five schools. In March, teacher-facilitators, principals from the participating schools, and others on the MAPPS team commented on the year’s activities. The selected comments that appear below reflect the rich benefits of MAPPS activities to the schools.

Several talked about the benefits of MAPPS activities to the parents and their children:

“The parents who took the course were excited to be there. They looked forward to the next meeting.” – teacher

“[in the workshops] I like having their student next to them working with them because it gives students an opportunity to teach their parents.” – principal

“MAPPS is the best thing we have going for the parents.” – teacher

“The parents really enjoyed coming.” – teacher

Many discussed the benefits to the teacher-facilitators themselves:

“Excellent training/professional development for our teachers….I have really seen the benefits of the professional development with the teachers on [the MAPPS team].” – principal

“The MAPPS activities are fabulous! Very engaging and fun. I love how they’re broken down into bite-sized bits of information that build upon one another. I think the teachers loved these activities as much as the parents did! I would *love* to participate again next year!” – teacher

“A lot of the facilitators really learned a lot of mathematics and a lot about teaching mathematics by teaching the mini-course.” – administrator

Several brought up the issue of cooperation and bonding that took place between teacher-facilitators from the different schools:

“I see benefits [of MAPPS] on so very many levels. The networking that teachers in the feeder pattern have done is tremendous. They have pulled together to work on a meaningful project that includes deepening content understandings as they consider how to deliver that same content to [parent] participants. [All] that must flow over into classroom practice. They are honing instructional practice related to learners of all ages.They are sharing their passion for mathematics with parents who appear to become excited as they work through the content themselves. In essence, every teacher involved is refining mathematics leadership skills, learning with and from each other.” – teacher

“In the end, for the facilitators [teaching the mini-course] was a bonding experience between the Hohokam folk and the feeder folk. The two groups wound up having respect for each other.” – administrator

“What worked: The cooperation of feeder pattern MAPPS teachers.” – teacher

Others spoke of building community:

“The interaction and community building at Hohokam was great… We should always …help parents feel more comfortable within the school setting. Their support and trust come as they get to know us.” – teacher

“At the heart of the concept was for us to inspire our community of families to learn math skills to assist their children. Secondary was to begin to change the ‘negative’ perception of Hohokam and invite the feeder-pattern to our campus prior to their actual middle school articulation.” – teacher

“Relationships amongst teachers, administrators, parents, and children were developed.” – principal

– David

“Data for Parents” at Hohokam, Fall 2009

In the fall of 2009, a team of Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) teachers, administrators and support staff offered the MAPPS Math for Parents Mini-Course, Data for Parents, to parents of Hohokam Middle School and its elementary feeder schools — Johnson, Lawrence, Maldonado, and Vessey. This was the third MAPPS Mini-Course to be offered at Hohokam. In 2007-8, parents participated in Fractions for Parents. In 2008-9, they participated in Geometry for Parents. (See reports on these courses in the story section of this Website and in previous blogs.)

Like the other courses, Data for Parents consisted of eight two-hour sessions spread out over two and a half months roughly once a week. The facilitators for the Mini-Course were teachers from the participating schools.

Training for the facilitators took place in three, 6-hour Saturday sessions, one before the course began, others in weeks when the mini-course was in progress. MAPPS Center staff led facilitators through the entire course, covering not only the mathematical ideas but also the pedagogical strategies for engaging parent-participants during each course session.

After the mini-course was completed, district staff asked the facilitators about their experiences. Some of their responses follow.

What they felt was most effective about Data for Parents:

Working with the parents and helping them to better understand what it is their child is learning in math.

Parents really started to understand the intensity of what their children are learning in the classroom.

Parents walked out feeling more confident in their ability to help their children.

Up-beat moments they experienced:

Ah-ha! moments from the parents.

One parent said that she˜fell in love with math” because of MAPPS.

Watching parents working together and communicating with one another.

Parent participation and their willingness to learn.

Seeing parents getting more involved and interested in their child’s education.

The formation of relationships between parents and between parents and teachers.

The creation of a community of learners that included parents and teachers.

Parents saw teachers as life-long learners and, as a result, felt more confident as learners themselves.

The engagement and involvement of fellow teacher-facilitators.

The dedication of everyone — parents and staff.

Working collaboratively with other teachers, not just from my own school but from other schools as well.

About the effectiveness of the training:

“I liked the opportunity to have a mock teaching session. It helped us prepare for what might happen.”

“It was very helpful to practice giving the lessons to each other on the Saturday trainings before instructing the parents. It allowed time to work out the “bugs” and identify possible difficulties/confusions.”

“I gained a deeper understanding of some of the math concepts that I don’t teach at my grade level.”

“I refresh my own memory and skills on certain topics I have not done in a long time or taught before.”

– David Gay

MAPPS on Facebook

If you are a member of Facebook, we would like to invite you to check out our own Facebook page at!/pages/Tucson-AZ/Math-and-Parent-Partners-MAPPS/113617902015089?v=wall&ajaxpipe=1&__a= or type “MAPPS” on the search application on your page. Please make sure that when you do type “MAPPS” that it is all in capital letters.

This Facebook page will give us an opportunity to update you on events, topics for discussion, and new blog posts on our main website at The page will also be able to serve as a venue for you to discuss and share how you have been using MAPPS for your parent involvement program at your school.

We only ask you to enjoy our new page by remembering that all content that is posted by anyone needs to follow a protocol that promotes a positive learning environment, decent use of language, and a respectful manner toward accepting and expressing opinions and thoughts.

– Christina