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The Whole Number Factory

Play with place value as children use Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons, dry-erase boards, as well as tens and ones manipulatives to become factories manufacturing whole numbers. Once your “workers” are trained, the “factory” can operate for any length of time – perfect for early finishers or odd gaps in your schedule.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Introduce place value concepts appropriate to your grade level. Discuss the concept of a “factory”. How does a factory work? Name some products that are made in factories. Talk about how most factories have parts, processes (steps), and products.
    2. Share with students the idea of being a number factory with each student “worker” performing one step in the factory process. Arrange children in groups of two to five. Provide each child with a dry-erase board and Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons. Invite children to design factory symbols (like gears, numbers, dials, levers) around the borders of the dry-erase boards.
    3. Demonstrate how the “whole number factory” works. Use the ideas below or be inspired and create your own steps:
    4. Student 1 chooses a handful of ones and places them on his/her board, labeled “ones that came into the factory”.
    5. Student 2 shows the same amount of ones as ones and tens (manipulatives) on his/her board, labeled “tens and ones machine”.
    6. Student 3 draws and completes a place value table on a board labeled “place value clerk”. The two-column table is headed “tens” and “ones”.
    7. Student 4 writes the numeral on his/her board, labeled “number machine”.
    8. Student 5 writes the number word on his/her board, labeled “word generator”, and says it aloud for all to hear.
    9. These steps could be grouped as well for partners or groups of 3 or 4 by combining steps onto one board.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.

    MATH: Understand place value.

    MATH: Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.

    VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.

  • Adaptations

    Challenge children to create their own factory parts, processes, and products. For example, children might create a cookie factory that packages cookies in sets of tens. Provide a variety of counters for children to use as “ones” that can be grouped into tens. Ask children to incorporate Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons and dry-erase boards to show what they know. Invite children to illustrate the steps of their imaginary factory using regular crayons and paper.

    Instead of grabbing piles of ones, your factories can take “orders” using playing cards to determine how many ones to take and group. The first student in the factory receives the “order” by drawing 2 cards and counting out the ones for the next step in the process.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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