Teaching Resource

Expanded Notation Puzzles - Whole Numbers

PDF, Google Slides | 15 pages|Grades: 3 - 4

Practice whole number expanded notation with this 28-piece matching puzzle.

The practice of showing a number in its expanded notation is a meaningful way to communicate the place value of each digit within that number. 

Help students understand place value with our Expanded Notation Puzzle game that challenges students to match whole numbers with their expanded form. 

Reinforce Place Value with Our Expanded Form Activity

This resource can be used independently or as a partner activity in your math center to practice identifying the expanded notation of whole numbers. 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 while number to its expanded notation. For example: 

21 = (2 x 10) + (1 x 1)

This resource provides expanded notation practice up to the millions, as well as practice with zeros in different place value locations. 

Get More Out of Our Expanded Form Activity! 

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

Scoot Activity

Place each of the 14 whole number 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.)

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 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 the expanded notation answers (depending on which card they were given) in a way you prefer to collect (on a separate sheet of paper or on a templated sticky note).   

Scaffolding This Resource for Struggling Students

This resource goes up to the millions place value and uses zeros in some numbers at the end. Remove these 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. 

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. 

Looking for more expanded notation and place value activities? Your search is over:


  Common Core Curriculum alignment

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