Learning Place Value with Pompoms and Pill Boxes

Posted by Erica Warren on

Place value lesson ideas
Bringing a tactile, visual and experiential component into math instruction can bring the “fun factor” into your lessons. In addition, incorporating multisensory dynamics into lessons makes them more memorable and concrete.

This activity is great for math centers, a classroom activity or individual remediation.

When I teach place values, I like to engage my students with colorful pompoms and pill boxes! You can usually find pill boxes and bags of assorted pompoms at a Dollar Store. With a few color coded labels, that cover the days of the week, your pill boxes can be transformed into pompom compartments. I like to put a single color in each compartment and I color code the labels to match. This makes it easy for students to reassemble the activity for the next person. Also, make sure to vary the number of pompoms in each partition. I like to make a variety of difficulty levels for the students and use the seven boxes as follows:
  • Millions, Hundred Thousands, Ten Thousands, Thousands, Hundreds, Tens, Ones
  • Hundreds, Tens, Ones, Decimal, Tenths, Hundredths, Thousandths
  • Decimal, Tenths, Hundredths, Thousandths, Ten Thousandths, Hundred Thousandths, Millionths
Place value panic game
I also like to provide a laminated sheet so students can record answers with a dry erase marker or I place the answer sheet in a dry erase pocket. Students can check their answers with an answer sheet or a barcode on the back of the pill box.

If you would like this activity, you can create it yourself. However, this activity, as well as the score sheets, are included in my popular publication, Place Value Panic Game, and Instruction. To learn more, Click Here.


Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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