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Whole Number Place Values & Proper Comma Placement

Updated on August 13, 2015

Its All About Patterns

The objective of this article is to help students learn the place values of whole numbers by discovering their patterns. Let's begin this lesson with basic vocabulary terms.


Ones smallest place value represented by one digit

Tens two digit numbers

Hundreds three digit numbers

Period each group of 3 numbers separated by a comma (period names are: units/ones (far right- smallest value), thousands, millions, etc.

Comma represents the name of a period

Whole Number Place Values Chart

Hundred Millions
Ten Millions
One Millions
Hundred Thousands
Ten Thousands
One Thousands

Tips and Strategies for seeing patterns in place values

Start at the far right of the Place Value Table and teach students to see and learn the repetition of the place values:

ones, tens, hundreds…..ones, tens, hundreds.…..ones, tens, hundreds.

Commas are used to separate each period of ones, thousands, millions, et al.

Every time students get to a comma, they must give the comma a name. For example 32,698 is read 32 thousand (notice thousand is the name for the comma) six hundred ninety eight.

(Teach students to read numbers without saying the word AND. This is important in helping them to distinguish between whole number and decimal place values since the decimal point is the only time AND should be used when reading numbers.)

When reading larger numbers such as 341,608 teach students to read all three numbers together in front of the comma as THREE HUNDRED FORTY ONE. (This number is read the same way when it’s part of a larger number as it is when it’s read alone.) Next, students should recognize the COMMA and know that they have to give it a name. In this example, its name is THOUSAND. Now, students should continue reading the rest of the number as SIX HUNDRED EIGHT. Notice no AND is read in this number.


To teach correct comma placement in a number, have students start at the far right of the number and count 1,2,3,comma!! They can clap or snap to the rhythm of this tip.

By learning the significance of commas in numbers, students are better able to read and write numbers, and identify their correct place values.


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    • YvetteParker profile image

      YvetteParker 6 years ago from AUGUSTA, GA

      Thank you so much.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      A great way to teach number concepts.