Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Block Heads

Carolyn Francis
Gadsden County Schools


Block Heads gives students the opportunity to work hands-on, using base ten blocks to model whole numbers through one thousand.


The student knows that the value of each place is 10 times that of the place to its right (for example, 1,000 = 10 x 100).


- Individual place value bags for each group (ones, tens, hundreds, thousands blocks)
- Plain Paper
- Markers
- Overhead Projector
- Transparency
- Overhead base ten blocks
- Transparency Pen
- Cart


1. Gather base ten blocks and place in bags.
2. Put one bag at each group's table.
3. Put plain paper at each table.
4. Put 1 marker at each table.
5. Set up overhead projector.
6. Get transparency, overhead base ten blocks, and transparency pen and place them on cart with projector.


Note: The students will only address identifying whole numbers through one thousand.

1. Ask the question, can you tell me how many tens are in ten, one hundred, and one thousand.

2. Demonstrate on the overhead using overhead base 10 blocks, that there are ten ones in ten, ten hundreds in one thousand, one ten in ten, ten tens in one hundred, and one hundred tens in one thousand.

3. Tell the students they will work in cooperative groups. They will be split up into 6 at each table. Each person in the group is responsible for giving input into the lesson. There will be one recorder in each group.

3. Group students into groups of 6.

4. Each group will be given a place value bag, one sheet of plain paper, and one marker.

5. Each group will have to select a recorder to record the results on the paper that was given.

6. Tell the students they are going to make models for the given numbers on the overhead. (ex: 24 = 2 ten bars + 4 ones). Tell students that one bar is equivalent to ten cubes, then model placing one bar and ten cubes on the overhead. Ask students how many bars it takes to equal 20 and how many cubes it takes to equal 4. Then explain to the students that if you take the two bars plus the four cubes it will give you twenty four.

7. Write 6 numbers on the overhead for the students to model and describe.

8. Each person in the group will be responsible for modeling a number using the base ten blocks.

9. Then, each group is to describe the place value in each number on the plain paper provided. (ex: 2300 = 200 tens + 30 tens) and the recorder will record the results.

10. Observe each group as students work on the activity.


As students work in cooperative groups to make models for a number and describe their models, observe the students as they are working cooperatively to determine their understanding of the lesson. Students should demonstrate an understanding of knowing that each place to the right is 10 times more. After practicing in their groups, each student will be given a worksheet (see attached file) to complete in order to determine the understanding of the lesson. If a student misses 3 or more problems out of 5, peer help will be given to provide additional help. Peer helpers could be the students who missed 2 or less problems.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.