I love ordering!

I love ordering marshmallows online and waiting for them to be delivered; I love ordering my siblings around; I even love ordering numbers!

Brie-Anna de Mouse, Future Star of Maths with a Mouse

Before we can order numbers, we need to have a good understanding of place value.

In our number system, the place that the digit is in changes its value. This is why it is called place value!

Let's first consider the place value of whole numbers; these do not include negative numbers.

Now, we can consider how to order whole numbers.

In the table above, when we look at the largest place value, we can see that only one number has thousands so we know that 5,003 is the largest number.

We then need to review the next largest place value, which in this example is the hundreds. It is clear that 3 hundreds is larger than 2 hundreds so we can easily order these numbers.

Wait a minute...

I have a question!

If that skill has been mastered, we should consider how to apply the same skills to help order decimals. Of course, before that is possible, we need to understand place value associated with decimals so what exactly is a decimal? 

Definitions from a mathematical mouse

decimal number: a number that is made up of a whole number and part of a whole e.g. 3.7, 1.03

decimal point: a mathematical symbol that separates whole numbers from the part of the whole

decimal fraction: the part of the whole which is recorded to the right of the decimal point. 

To order decimal numbers, we use the exact same method using place value knowledge.

Easy as that! of course, the headings might be shortened so we need to recognise that decimal fractions use lower case letters only which shows that they are different to whole numbers.

Got it? Easy! Of course, the best mathematicians and mousématicians make links and know that decimal fractions are the same as fractions! 

TOP TIP: You might have noticed that I list the numbers one under the other as this makes comparing using place value much, much easier. You should do this too!



Arrow Cards from ictgames.com is a great starting point for demonstrating and supporting understanding of place value. This one is mainly for those teachers out there who love using their interactive whiteboards during lessons. I love the bright colours more than anything!

Hopefully, you have used actual place value resources already so are now able to practise applying your understanding. I hope you get the answers correct in Shark Numbers otherwise the boat will begin to break when the shark bites off a chunk! Arghhhhhhh!

Nothing but net! Place Value Basketball develops the same skills as Shark Numbers but is a little less scary for me than facing that shark!

If you have mastered the skills in the previous games, it is time for Lifeguards. Using place value counters, you can save people from disaster  and be a hero!

Arrrrgh, me hearties! You’re gonna need to use yer place value knowledge to deal with these pirates, otherwise you might needs to walk the plank! Thanks, Mr Nussbaum for yer games and sharin yer treasure and Place Value Pirates!

Solve It: Who Am I? has great puzzles relating to place value and the initial puzzles are perfect for this point of learning. It then gets much trickier so I will put this also somewhere else for those who are ready for the challenge puzzles. Who Am I? 24601

Oh...in case you are confused by the puzzles, units is another term referring to ones in place value.


Ladybirds (or ladybugs if you are in some parts of the world) are lovely! Ladybird Spots is a perfect starting point for learning ordering because the spots can be counted and compared. 

Once you have a good understanding of place value, it's time to use those ordering skills. With a wide range of options, in Coconut Ordering, you will find the perfect level of challenge - the marshmallow spot! Enjoy knocking the coconuts down. I think it's smashing fun! 

The first time I played Snakes and Spikes, it did not go well at all! I wasn’t making decisions fast enough and also kept wandering into the spikes. Ouch! Once I understood what I needed to do, and came up with a few simple strategies, I became much better. Don't forget to head to the exit once you have ordered the eggs otherwise you might hit the spikes...again!

Details coming soon...ish

Nice or Nasty from NRich is one of the best games that can be played using place value. With many different variations you can really extend your place value skills but be warned, you might make enemies along the way!

Range Arranger is a wonderful and slightly silly game for ordering numbers by arranging planks on wood in a pile. Warning: they tend to tumble and fall quite a lot! That's my favourite feature and why I enjoy using this great game!

As the numbers are piled on top of each other, I love how it is easier to compare using place value. 

This is definitely a great activity for practising ordering decimals - tick that box!