Every Place Has A Value

Computational Thinker


The Number Pieces Basic app helps students develop a deeper understanding of place value while building their competition skills with multi-digit numbers. Students can use the number pieces to represent multi-digit numbers, count, regroup, add, and subtract. The drawing tools allow students to label representations and show their understanding numbers and math concepts.

Students will:

  • Be able to use the tool to identify 100’s, 10’s, and 1’s and how they can represent groups.
  • Be able to annotate their thinking and show their understanding by writing or using the text tool.
  • Be able to manipulate the pieces to represent numbers, attach and break apart pieces to represent groups, and write equations using the text tool.

Vocabulary Words

  1. Place Value: The place value is the numerical value that a digit based on where it is placed in a number.
  2. Base Ten Blocks: Base Ten Blocks are groups of colored blocks that can be put together to represent numbers.

  3. Add: To add it the process of combining the values of 2 or more numbers together.

  4. Subtract: To subtract is the process of removing/taking away 1 or more numbers away from another.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • This task can be achieved with one device per two students or a whole group if the classroom is one to one.
  • Load the app on all devices. 

  • The teacher will need number cards that represent 10’s 20’s 30’s 40’s 50’s 60’s 70’s 80’s 90’s and 100’s.

  • Watch the How-To Video

  • Watch the video Sample of how to use the Number Pieces.

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students.net site in the Teacher Resources. 

Here are the directions for using the Number Pieces Basic App with students (Whole Group Lesson):

Round One:

  • Ss -  Open Number Pieces (app or web based)
  • T -  Show the students number 7
  • Ss - Represent the number 7 by placing 7 yellow single cubes on the screen and write the number 7
  • T - When all students are completed based on visual of class > have students hold up their device to show what they have created OR have one student explain what they did on their screen.

Round 2:

  • T - Show the students number 35
  • Ss- Represent the number 35 by placing 3 green ten’s cubes, and 5 yellow cubes on the screen and write the number 35
  • T - When all students are completed based on visual of class > have students hold up their device up to show what they have created OR have one student explain what they did on their screen.

Taking It Further:
You can use addition problems, subtraction problems or story problems and have the students represent those problems using the cubes and the annotating tools.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Teachers in small group or one on one will use a clip board or a Google Form. That form has each student on it. The teacher will provide each student five random numbers. The student will have to create the number with cube groups. Teacher can even write the students name on the screen and screenshot his/her work for evidence.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Computational Thinker
5a. Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.

5c. Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:
Number Pieces Basic App iOS

PC, Chromebook App

Number Pieces Basic


Write math story problems using proper sentence structure directly inside the app then demonstrating understanding by have the cubes represent the numbers in the story problem.

Create a project such as a house, train, or outdoor landscape with just the cubes and then provide some explanation.


This task card was created by Jeremie Coplin, Kalamazoo RESA, February 2018.