Recently at my son's soccer practice I was listening to a 5th grader ask her mom for help on her place value homework. The reason I was being nosey was because I kept hearing her mom say, "You just always have a zero before the decimal". As a teacher this disturbed me...the child (and her mother) did not understand that zero is a part of our place value system. We don't simply "just put a zero", we are using the digit zero to represent there is no value for that particular place value.
I personally feel this is where we, educators, fail our children when teaching place value. Not because we don't know what the digit zero is for, but simply it is a difficult concept for children to understand. We often use examples that do not have zeros because we are afraid of the responses we will get from our students. It is our responsibility to teach our children the importance of zero in our number system.
I am linking an old Mentor Post I did on the book A Place for Zero I HIGHLY recommend this book for your class library! :)
I worked, and still working on, several new products this weekend and felt I should create a FREEBIE for you! It's an overwhelming part of the year, getting routines down, adjustments periods, beginning of the year assessments, and simply realizing that summer is officially gone! So, here is a little pick me up Freebie for you and your students!
I created a Place Value game with a fall theme for students to practice identifying the value of the underlined digit. Yes, I included zeros! :)
You can use this game with collaborative pairs, small groups, or in a Math center. I have included 20 game cards for 3rd grade, 20 for 4th grade, and 20 for 5th grade. Fifth grade friends I even included decimals for you. I hope you and your students enjoy it!
Don't forget to link up and share what you are working on in math?