Over the past few weeks, my son has been learning to subtract two and three digit equations that require borrowing (or re-grouping as some say). I distinctly remember learning to borrow in subtraction without using manipulatives. I knew how to borrow, but it was literally years later before I understand why you borrow in an equation.
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In our homeschool, we use Singapore Math, which recommends using number discs (place value discs). I’ll be honest: I forgot to order the number discs at the beginning of the year. When I realized how often they would be used, I was already out of our budgeted homeschool money for this semester.
So I had the bright idea to make my own.
I cannot imagine trying to teach my son how to borrow in subtraction without these place value cards! You can literally exchange 10 groups of ten for 1 group of one hundred and see why those two amounts are equal. It’s crucial that my son understands that in borrowing!
We started out with pink highlighter writing on cut-up index cards and have now gone to these “pretty” place value cards. My son votes for this new set, hands down.
How to Use Place Value Cards
These place value cards can be used from the moment you introduce place value to your little learners. I intentionally made them different colors so they are easy to group.
Feel free to use them when teaching addition with carrying (re-grouping) or subtraction with borrowing.
When your child sees you exchange a group of (10) ones for (1) group of ten, it helps solidify the words you’re saying. This visual representation helps reinforce what is so hard to imagine in one’s head, for those of us who are visual learners.
When using these place value cards to teach subtraction, I give my son a written equation on a piece of paper. He builds the equation on his desk with place value cards, and then solves it.
How to Print Place Value Cards
This download contains three sets of place value cards: 1 set of black ink only, 1 set of red/green/blue, and 1 set of lavender/pink/light green.
If you’re using a colored ink set, print them on white or cream cardstock for longer durability.
If you would like to use the black ink only set, it would be helpful to your child if you printed each place value on different colored paper. For example, print the ones on green cardstock, the tens on yellow cardstock, and the hundreds on blue cardstock. The colors are so helpful, as one’s eye can easily group them.
Print as many of the place value cards as you’ll need. We personally needed two sheets of ones and one sheet of each tens and hundreds.