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How to use our Place Value Number Photographs

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Number 52Motorbike number 181 Bev Dunbar Maths Matters





Maths Matters Resources is dedicated to helping you create real-life links in your maths classroom.

What are you trying to do?

  • Use a real life example of number for a Place Value mental warm-up with your students

What do you need?

What do you do?

  • Talk about all the places you see real-life examples of numbers.
  • Show the photograph e.g. 52. Ask the students to face a partner. On a given signal, each team has 1 minute to think of as many different things they know using that number as an example.
  • “It is a 2-digit number, it’s larger than 50 but less than 100, it’s an even number, it’s a multiple of 2, 3 fewer than 55, half of 104, double is 26, 10 groups of 5 and 2 more, 52 is the age of my aunty, you could buy a pair of shoes for $52, 10 less than 65, that’s 10 pasta sticks plus 2 extra pieces of pasta, if I put 52 buttons into groups of 5 I would have 2 left over …”.
  • At the end of the minute, discuss some of the discoveries with the whole class. Are there any misunderstandings?


  • Collect your own photographs of real life numbers for future mental warm-ups. e.g. How many different ways can you model this number? Beansticks, pasta sticks, Base 10 materials, groups of 10s and 1s pelicans, shells, alpacas (see our Place Value to 100 Photographs …)
  • Use the photograph on an activity card or electronic whiteboard as part of a place value discussion with your students. e.g. Count by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s to and from 52, try to add multiples of 52 – what’s the highest number you can reach?