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 Beverly Mackie BellaOnline's Math Editor

Place Value

Place value is essential for students to understand. Take a minute and think of what the word place stands for ….perhaps a location. The word “value” refers to worth. Put the two together and place values refer to the worth of the location of a number. In real estate, the most important consideration is location, location, location. Likewise, 1 is worth a lot less than 1000 because the “1” is in a different location. What are the names of these places/locations? Let’s take a look at the following:

I. Remembering the place value positions
II. How to read a number
III. How to write a number in words

I. How to Remember the Place Value Positions
As always…look for patterns.
Numbers are infinite, but let’s look at the place values through the billions.

-------------- ------- -------------- ---------, ------------------- --------------- ---------, ------------------------ ---------------- -------------, ---------- ------- --------
Hundred Billions Tens Billions Billions, Hundred Millions Ten Millions Millions, Hundred Thousands, Ten Thousands, Thousand, Hundreds, Tens, Ones

Notice, starting from the right we have the familiar units ones, tens and hundreds
Thereafter, every three places have a name in common and are separated by a comma.
Let’s call them groups. There are three other groups above.
Billions – red
Millions – blue
Thousands – green

Think of a word that begins with the first letter of each group to help you remember the order of the groups and units.
It can be silly. For example
Billions – Beverly
Millions – Mackie
Thousands – Tickles
Hundreds – Hairy
Tens - Tan
Ones - Octopuses.

Now, look at the names of the billions, millions, and thousands and what else do you see in common? Each group starting from right to left has the base name for the group followed by ten and then a hundred. Then, a new group starts over with the same pattern. Take another look. Once these patterns are realized, it becomes easier to remember the order.

II. How to Read Whole Numbers

432 –
is read as four hundred thirty-two
Notice, I did not say four hundred and thirty-two. The word “and” is reserved for the decimal point.
Since each group is divided into three places, read larger numbers as if they were units then say the group name. You can also think of groups as families.

For example: 567, 193
Read from left to right. Say five hundred sixty-seven; okay; stop; based upon the positions, what group is 567 in? Yes, the thousands; therefore the number is read as five hundred sixty-seven thousand, one hundred ninety-three

II. How to Write Whole Numbers in Words

Numbers are written as they are read. Just remember to separate the groups with commas and don’t use the word “and.” Look at the number above for an example. Here’s another example:

439,023,456 – four hundred thirty-nine million, twenty-three thousand, four hundred fifty-six

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