Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Can I Put You in Your Place?

Cindy Jacobs


Students play a game that allows them to place number cards in an order to make the least three digit number possible using place value. Students compare these numbers with a partner to see who has the least three digit number.


The student compares and orders whole numbers to 100 or more using concrete materials, drawings, number lines, and symbols (less than, =, greater than).

The student compares two or more sets (up to 100 objects in each set) and identifies which set is equal to, more than, or less than the other.


-Index Cards


1. Gather materials needed for the lesson.


1. Review place value to the ones, tens, and hundreds place.

2. Write the numbers 3, 1, and 7 on the chalkboard. Ask students what is the smallest three digit number you can make using these numbers? (137). Ask them what is the largest three digit number you can make using these numbers? (731)

3. Divide the class into pairs. Tell them we are going to play a math game.

4. Give each pair 9 index cards.Instruct students to write the numbers 1 through 9 on these cards (one number per card).

5. Tell students to mix up these 9 cards, and place them face down in a stack.

6. Decide which player goes first. To simplify and prevent arguments, you may want to insist that student pairs decide which goes first by alphabetical order based on their last name.

7. Give each pair of players a sheet of paper to keep score. Each pair will write their individual names on this paper-one on the front and one on the back to keep scores separate.

8. Each player will draw three cards and make the smallest three digit number as possible using these three drawn cards. This number will be recorded on his or her paper. The player with the smallest three digit number made from the cards drawn will get a point for that round.

9. The game will continue until each student has 6 turns. When they use up the cards in the stack, they just reshuffle the used ones and place them back on the stack.

10. The player with the most points will be deemed the winner.

11. You may wish to have students repeat this game, only have them make the largest three digit numbers possible.

12. Collect score sheets for assessment purposes.


Mastery or non mastery will be based on two things (A) Informal observation of student performances while playing the game.(B) Student score sheets should show that 5 out of 6 answers are correct regarding students' abilities to make the least three digit numbers as possible given the three cards drawn from each of the six rounds. Observe students as they work cooperatively to complete group activity.


Repeat this activity using four digit numbers or larger for upper grades. You could also make up riddles for students to solve such as: My digits are 5, 1, and 6. My largest number is in the tens place. I am which number?
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