How do place value cards develop pupils’ Mathematics?

Learning math is about understanding numbers, patterns and problem-solving. Pupils develop these essential skills at school and with the help of their parents at home. 

Math is an integral part of learning for pupils in the early years because it provides vital life skills. Math helps pupils solve problems, measure and develop their spatial awareness, and teaches them how to use and understand shapes. 

Mathematics plays a significant role in a child’s development and helps pupils make sense of their world.

Teaching techniques like place value cards help them gather a basic understanding of Math. Read on to find out why place value cards are necessary for your child’s development. 

What are place value cards?

Japari pupil using place value cards in class

Place value cards are laminated cards that teach pupils to build numbers and break them down into hundreds, tens and units. 

At Japari, we use place value cards to teach our pupils expanded notation, allowing them to form a solid Math foundation. 

These cards are given to pupils to understand place value and a basic understanding of sums. 

We introduce these teaching techniques at a grade three level for about 20 minutes every week until pupils get used to them. 

How does it work?

Japari pupil using place value cards

Firstly the teacher directs her pupils to lay out all their place value cards on the floor or table. 

We prefer them to be laid out on the floor so that they can visualise all of the numbers when creating and breaking down sums. 

The pupils will then spread out all numbers in units, tens and hundreds.

Next, the teacher will ask them to expand a sum. For example, the teacher will ask her pupils to expand 69. 

The pupils will expand the sum into 60 tens and nine units, putting the units on top of the tens. The teacher will then ask them what the place value is, and they will have to explain that there are six tens and nine units. 

Another example the teacher will provide is 134. The pupils will expand the sum into 100 hundred, 30 tens and four units. The teacher will continue to give the pupils more examples.

The pupils then explain the place value of the sum; they show that they have placed the tens and units on top of the hundred. Pupils demonstrate that there are only one hundred, three tens and four units, therefore understanding the place value.  

The higher the numbers are, the harder it becomes for the pupils to notate. 

If pupils struggle to understand the concept, she will go slower with them or have a one-on-one session with them.

We try to implement this exercise early in the morning when our pupils are highly alert and concentrated. Our teachers will start with the most straightforward exercise and then move their way up to the harder ones. 

Why is your child struggling with notation? 

Japari pupil laying out all of her place value cards

Children who struggle with notations at a young age will usually solve problems with pen and paper rather than working them out in their heads. 

By working out sums with a pen and paper, they are relying on other methods to improve their memory rather than working it out in their head. 

Struggling with Math may mean that your child is stressed or under pressure when answering Math problems and not coping with the task. 

By working out Math problems on paper, your child is not using their total brain capacity.

Generally, children with poor Math sense will not enjoy Math and will not be creative enough to explore numbers. 

Your child may be struggling with Math because they have not received the proper teaching techniques. 

Children often avoid things they do not enjoy and find other distractions. 

By using place value cards, your child will learn Math and have fun simultaneously, unknowingly understanding Math basics. 

Why is notation necessary at a young age?

Place value cards spread out on our floor

Good notation and understanding of Math help children manipulate numbers and solve sums quickly, giving your child the confidence to be flexible.

Children who develop Math skills can start to create patterns in their heads and understand what the answer may be before calculating. 

Place value cards are a great way to help solve Math problems in their head without needing to write them down. 

Children with good number sense enjoy playing with and exploring numbers and number relationships. As a result of these strategies, they can solve many other Math problems that come their way. 

Where can I get place value cards?

Japari pupil doing an expanded notation sum

You can get place value cards from any store, including checkers, Makro and takealot

We find it essential that parents take the initiative to place value cards with their children at home. 

After your child has played outside and before you settle them for homework, try 20 minutes of this teaching technique. 

You will find that this is a great bonding moment for you and your child; they are also learning valuable Math skills simultaneously. 

Place value cards are a great way to learn and have fun simultaneously. 

Why do we implement place value cards at Japari?

Japari pupil holding up his answer

We find place value cards are adequate for our pupils to learn the basics of calculations and better understand numbers early on in their schooling.  

Place value cards build our pupils’ confidence in Math, enabling them to solve more significant numbers every week as we practise this technique. 

We have seen a vast improvement in our pupils’ understanding of Math because of this learning technique. Our reports have shown a significant improvement in their achievement. 

Our pupils are generally more excited about Math classes and are upset when we do not have time for place value cards, showing that the relationship between having fun and Math is much stronger than before.

Usually, when pupils struggle with Math, they are given more Math to improve it. However, at Japari, we find this does not work for our pupils, and they start to resent the subject. 

Therefore, we find different ways to teach Math with a more learned approach that is more visual for our pupils. 

Once our pupils see alternative ways to solve problems, they start to enjoy Math because it becomes fun as they can find loopholes in their learning.


Japari pupil working out expanded notation

At Japari, we aim to help our pupils better understand Math and learn to enjoy it while practising it.  

Place value cards are one of the many teaching techniques we teach at Japari to help pupils better understand and solve Math problems. 

With the help of our specialised teachers and dedicated parents, we aim to build our pupils’ confidence in Math and develop their understanding. 

Using these teaching techniques, we build the foundation of understanding Math and enable pupils to solve problems quickly in their schooling careers.


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