Numbaroll Place Value Game (How to Read Big Numbers)

She’s just five minutes into playing the Numbaroll place value game, and she feels like she’s just won the lottery.

She turns over her last card, throws her hands dramatically in the air and yells: “Three MILLION, four hundred fifty-six THOUSAND, two hundred twenty-nine! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!” 

“Hey mom! I just won THREE MILLION points!”

Reading and writing big numbers is one of those things adults think is easy, but is tricky even for older kids. They need to:

  • keep track of hundreds, thousands, millions and billions and not get lost in all the zeroes
  • remember how to read and write commas in numbers (back to front instead of front to back)
  • know what to call the digits in up to 12 different places
  • line up the LAST digit to add numbers of different sizes together

Numbaroll is a simple place value game that does an amazing job helping kids learn to read and write big numbers. All you need is dice and a deck of cards.

How to Play the Numbaroll Place Value Game

AGES: 7-11 years

PLAYERS: 2-3

MATERIALS: a deck of playing cards, one or two dice

1. Remove the tens and the face cards (jack, queen, king) from your deck of cards. Shuffle.

2. Roll the die.

3. Turn over the number of cards on your die. (Take 5 cards if you roll a 5.) 

4. Make a number with your cards–each card is one digit. 

5. Use the die as a comma. (Start at the BACK of the number and put a comma after every three cards.)

 6. If you roll a 1, you get a bonus play. First take one card for that roll…

ace playing card and die

…then roll again, take that many more cards, and add them to your number. 

(In the example below, I rolled a one. I drew my first card, an ace. On my bonus roll I got a five, so I drew 5 more cards. I added these to my ace to make a 6-digit number: 153,897.)

playing card digits in place value game

7. Read your score out loud to the other player.

“one hundred fifty-three thousand, eight hundred ninety-seven.”

8. The other player writes down your score as you read it out loud. They read your score back to you to make sure it’s written correctly.

9. Play 5 rounds. Add up your final score..

TIPS FROM THE TRENCHES

  • Play with two dice to make numbers in the billions

Playing with 2 dice creates numbers into the hundred billions! Playing with two dice is a lot harder, but kids LOVE to get the really big numbers! Start with one die, and when kids are good with hundred thousands, move up to two dice for a challenge.

  • Use the Numbaroll score sheet

Print out the score sheet for the Numbaroll place value game to make it easier to line numbers up correctly and add scores. 

  • How to help kids read big numbers

To read big numbers, kids actually need to remember just two things: 

–> Large numbers are grouped by hundreds. If the number 245 is placed between commas, it will always be read as “two hundred forty-five”, no matter where in a number it is.

–> Read the number groups between the commas AND “read” the commas. The commas are read as: thousand, million, and billion, from right to left (starting at the end of the number). 

how to read big numbers -- place value

Read the number group, then the comma, then the number group, then the comma…

two hundred forty-five BILLION, three hundred six MILLION, seven hundred fourteen THOUSAND, nine hundred ninety-nine

It helps to start by counting the number of commas, starting on the right-hand side, so they know whether to begin at thousands, millions, or billions.

One Comment

  1. Awesome maths strategy.

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