Teaching Resource

Expanded Notation Puzzles - Decimals

PDF, Google Slides | 15 pages|Grades: 4 - 5

Practice expanded notation using decimals and whole numbers with this set of 28 puzzle pieces.

Looking for a fun way to get your students to practice expanded form using decimals and whole numbers? Our expanded form game reinforces place value understanding by challenging students to match numbers to their expanded notation.  

Why Practice Expanded Notation?

Expanded notation sets the foundation for algebraic thinking while also strengthening place value comprehension. 

Putting whole numbers and decimals in their expanded notation is especially helpful for students who have difficulty with zeros in the larger numbers. For example, when asked to write 1,000,918, many will write 1,918 because they forget to fill the thousands “family” with zeros since there is no value there. 

With our expanded notation game, students will learn how to stretch place value up to the millions, as well as practice with zeros in different place value locations. 

Play While Your Practice Expanded Notation Using Decimals

This resource can be used independently or as a partner activity in your math center to practice expanded notation with whole numbers and decimals. You can also use this as a guided math group activity for reteaching the concepts.  

To play, print and cut out the puzzle pieces. Mix them up and have students match the whole number to its expanded notation. For example: 

9,953.3 in expanded form = (9 x 1,000) +  (9 x 100) + (5 x 10) + (3 x 1) + (3 x 1/10)

Get More Expanded Form Practice From One Game! 

We’ve got more ways to turn this expanded form game into additional activities for your students to play and learn. 

Scoot Activity

Place each of the 14 whole number and decimal cards around the room. Ask students to stand up with a blank sheet of paper numbered 1-14 to use as a recording sheet. Assign one card to each student to start, having students rotate through each of the cards, writing their answers on the recording sheet provided. 

(NOTE: We suggest printing a second set of cards for this activity that you can number for students to keep their place.)

Show Me!

This game can be done as a whole-class review activity. Give each student a mini dry-erase board and a dry-erase marker. Project a whole number or decimal card and ask your students to write the expanded notation for it on their board. When everyone has written down their answer, say “Show Me”. Students will flip their boards and this allows you to easily see who needs extra support with this skill.

Exit Ticket

This resource can be used as a simple exit ticket to determine their depth of understanding of the concept. Provide students with one of the puzzle pieces and direct them to record either the whole number or decimal, or the expanded notation answers (depending on which card they were given) in a way you prefer to collect—like on a separate sheet of paper or on a templated sticky note

Change the Difficulty Level if Needed

This resource tests students by providing expanded notation practice up to the millions with decimals up to the thousandths, as well as practice with zeros in different place value locations, including within the decimal place value. Remove these cards for students who are having difficulty completing these problems—or add them as extension challenges for students who are ready.

For visual aids, students can use place value blocks/disks to provide a concrete representation of the expanded notation. You could also refer them to a classroom anchor chart or expanded notation poster

Students might also benefit from partner work with a classmate who understands the concept and who can provide support.

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print the puzzle pieces on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all game parts in a folder or large envelope for easy access.  

Because this download does not include an answer sheet, we recommend printing a second copy of the file that students can use to check their work.  

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. 

This resource was created by Megan Cargile, a teacher in Nevada and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 

Why stop there when we’ve got lots more place value activities we know your students will love! 


  Common Core Curriculum alignment

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