The Gattegno (or Place Value) Chart is a simple tool to help children appreciate the patterns in our counting structure. For example, the identical pattern evident when counting in 1’s, 10’s, 100’s, 1000’s... or greater
To familiarise young children with the Gattegno Chart ask them to:
- use the chart to count in 1's forwards and backwards - pointing to the 1's row on the chart.
- choose any single digit number and use that as a starting point for countin up to 9, and then back to 1
- count in 10's forwards and backwards along the 10's row.
- choose any multiple of 10 as a starting point and to count up and down again.
You can repeat this as necessary, asking the children to talk about the similarities (and the differences) in the language they use when counting when counting like this..
To further aid familiarisation (or as an assessment activity) you can point to different sections of the chart and ask children to say the name of the number (e.g. "Twenty", "Two hundred, "Nine", etc.).
When they are familiar with the layout and use of the chart children can use it to further increase their understanding of place value. For example: children can create numbers by pointing. Place a finger on 30 and another on 7 to make 37.
Use small counters or paperclips to note other numbers – a counter on each of the following three numbers: 200, 50 and 4 creates 254, for example.
Childern should also be encouraged to demonstrate similar calculations, for example:
If 4 + 5 = 9
then 40 + 50 + 90
and 400 + 500 = 900
The downloadable* pdf file includes three Gattegno Charts:two of which feature 1, 10, 100, 1000 numbers (in different fonts); and one which extends the idea (for older children) to include numbers to two decimal places: 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100, 1000
As a side note: Caleb Gattegno insisted that teaching should be subordinated to learning; that teachers must understand how people learn, and (rather than present facts for memorization) they should construct challenges for students to conquer. "If the student cannot conquer the challenge easily, the teacher does not tell the answer, but observes and asks questions to determine where the confusion lies, and what awareness needs to be triggered in the student."
The Gattegno Chart is a perfect example of a resource underpinned by this philosophy. Further information about Gattegno can be found here [Caleb Gattegno].
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