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How to teach children to add three digits numbers?

Updated on January 9, 2013

Using the numberline and the break apart method

Here is an example of how to break down by place value large numbers, when teaching children how to add.
Here is an example of how to break down by place value large numbers, when teaching children how to add.

Back to the Basics

For most of us adding is a basic math skill. However when you are adding large numbers in your head and are trying to estimate averages, your might find mental math very useful. When teaching children to add large numbers, in the past most teachers only used the algorithm method. The old vertical method where numbers are lined up by place value and numbers are carried. There is nothing wrong with this method however some children need a more visual method that helps them see what is really occurring when they add large numbers. Remembering that all of us have our unique learning styles, teachers and parents should explore different methods for teaching even the most basic concepts.

Using a Numberline

Introduce the numberline as a line that orders numbers from least to greatest. You can start with any numer and add to it. If you know the place values of all the digits in the large numbers that you are adding you can break apart the large number and add each place value number one at a time, making one jump at a time along the line.Then finally you will come to your final answer.

You can also break the large numbers apart by values and place the vertically and add them:

500+ 40+ 9

600 +20 +0

1100+60+9=1169

There will be times when numbers will need to be carried over to the next place. In my experience as a teacher I have noticed how students often do not realize when carrying digits that they are actually going to a different place value. For example, if they were adding 9+3= 12(the one's place in a large number). They need to carry the 10 not the 1 as they would say. The more they understand about what they are actually doing, the less they will be apt to make silly mistakes.


Helping Struggling Students

If you are teaching a child who is struggling or who might have special learning needs you might want to create a wall of 100 charts equalling 10,000. This will help them see and conceptualize what it means to have say 300 or 3,000 and the difference between the two. Also they can see landmark numbers like multiples of five or ten that can be used to add large numbers in parts. In my teaching experience I have had students understand large numbers better when they see how much is 10,000. They do not feel as afraid of the zeros when they see patterns and understand place value.

10,000 Chart

This is time consuming, but it is worth it. Students can st in whole group and make observations, small struggling groups can work together to fill in missing numbers using landmark numbers, already filled in.
This is time consuming, but it is worth it. Students can st in whole group and make observations, small struggling groups can work together to fill in missing numbers using landmark numbers, already filled in. | Source

Highlight Landmark Numbers

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    • dbroomfi profile image
      Author

      Dominique Broomfield 5 years ago from Texas,USA

      Great! The kids like to help put it together. We use receipt paper to connect the 100 charts in sets of 1000.

    • thebookmom profile image

      thebookmom 5 years ago from Nebraska

      I love the chart! We'll be working on higher number place value soon and I'll use it with my girl. Great hub.