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ERIC Number: EJ775314
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Sep
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5785
Putting Place Value in Its Place
Thompson, Ian
Mathematics Teaching, n184 p14-15 Sep 2003
In this article, the author explores the concept of "moving one place to the left." A recent investigation by Thompson and Bramald explored the relationship between young children's understanding of place value and their ability to add two-digit numbers. The study took the form of a series of one-to-one interviews with a sample of 144 children aged 6 to 9 from eight primary schools. An important conclusion of this study was that children are able to add two-digit numbers successfully using partitioning without needing to have an understanding of place value. In the context of this article it seems fair to conclude that children in Y2 and Y3 have little or no understanding of what is conventionally called place value. In Thompson's terms they have some appreciation of the "quantity value" aspect of place value (73 is 70 plus 3), but not the "column value" aspect (73 is 7 in the tens column and 3 in the units column). Consequently, it would appear to be somewhat over-optimistic to expect young children to understand the concept of "moving the digits one place to the left," which appears to demand a fairly sophisticated understanding of place value. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Unit 7 Prime Industrial Park, Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB, UK. Tel: +44-1332-346599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A