Place Value Misconceptions Essay

Place Value Misconceptions Essay

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Countless time teachers encounter students that struggle with mathematical concepts trough elementary grades. Often, the struggle stems from the inability to comprehend the mathematical concept of place value. “Understanding our place value system is an essential foundation for all computations with whole numbers” (Burns, 2010, p. 20). Students that recognize the composition of the numbers have more flexibility in mathematical computation. “Not only does the base-ten system allow us to express arbitrarily large numbers and arbitrarily small numbers, but it also enables us to quickly compare numbers and assess the ballpark size of a number” (Beckmann, 2014a, p. 1). Addressing student misconceptions should be part of every lesson. If a student perpetuates place value misconceptions they will not be able to fully recognize and explain other mathematical ideas. In this paper, I will analyze some misconceptions relating place value and suggest some strategies to help students understand the concept of place value.
“Place value understanding requires an integration of new and sometimes difficult to construct the concept of grouping by ten” (Van de Walle, Karp, Bay- Williams, 2013a, p. 193). In the first case study, the student in this problem used a single chip to demonstrate the one in the tens place on his paper. The learner failed to distinguish that the one, stands for a group of ten and not a single chip. This student is still using a count by one approach learned in Kindergarten (Van de Walle, Karp, Bay- Williams, 2013b). The pupil should be exposed to the practice of grouping by ten. The teacher can use a variety of strategies to help the student develop the concept of grouping by ten. To begin, the teacher should encourage the ...

... middle of paper ...

...mathematical concepts is greatly influenced by their understanding of our number system. Consequently, any misconception concerning place value most be addressed promptly in order to ensure success in mathematics.

Beckmann, S. (2014). Mathematics for elementary teachers with activity manual (4th ed.).

Boston, MA: Pearson

Burns, M. (2010). Snapshots of student misunderstanding. Educational Leadership, 67(5), 18-22.

Retrieved from

Fuson, K. C., Clements, D. H., & Beckmann, S. (2011). Focus in grade 2: teaching with

curriculum focal points. Reston, VA: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,


Van de Walle, J.A., Karp, K. S., & Bay-Williams, J. M. (2013). Elementary and middle school
mathematics: Teaching developmentally (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Publication

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