Base Ten Blocks

Place Value Blocks, Base Ten Manipulatives

UDL 2.5 UDL 5.2

Base ten blocks are manipulatives that students can use to learn addition, subtraction, number sense, place value and counting. Because there are blocks that represent 1 unit, 10 units, 100 units, and 1000 units, they make concrete the abstract concepts of place value and what a digit in the thousands place represents in contrast to the what a digit in the ones place represents. They also translate well to graphic organizers on paper when physical blocks are not available or when the teacher wants to fade away the need for the physical manipulative. Base Ten Blocks can also be used to model decimals. For example, the "thousand unit cube" can represent the ones place and the single unit cube can represent the thousandths place.

Ready-to-Use Resources


Place Value Mats and 3D Base Ten Blocks

Included in this resource are paper-cutout versions of three-dimensional base ten blocks, as well as decimal place value mats. The base ten blocks can be printed and cut out for students to use for all types of work with number sense, including counting, place value, addition, subtraction, and multiplication. The place value mats can be used for students to organize and group their base ten blocks to represent and compare decimals.

Grade 5 · Math · 4 pages

Implementation Tips

Presenting Choices
For students needing additional support, when asking them to use blocks to show a number or when showing them blocks and asking what number they represent, give them options for the answers (e.g. Is this series of blocks 243, 234, or 344?)
Support Using Templates
For students needing a significant amount of support, provide a template to which they can match the shape of the blocks and get the answer (e.g. For 72, give the student a template with the outline of 7 rods and 2 cubes.)
Online Base 10 Blocks
For students who do not have good fine motor skills, there are a number of online base 10 block options that can be manipulated by computer keys or adapted technology.


Decomposing a Written Number
To represent a number using base ten blocks, make piles of base ten blocks to represent each place value. If your number was 2,784, you would make a pile of 2 blocks, a pile of 7 flats, a pile of 8 rods and a pile of 4 cubes.
Interpreting Blocks into a Written Number
The teacher picks a number and asks students to use the blocks to show the number, or the teacher shows a series of blocks and asks students to tell what number it is.

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