Recently, I was working on writing numbers in standard, expanded, and word form with my cutie pie student that is in second grade.  We practiced and practiced, but it still wasn't sticking.  I got the idea in the moment to go get a balloon to help her grasp what these words mean.

Standard Form

First, I showed her the deflated balloon.  We talked about how it was compact and didn't take up much room, but it was still a balloon.  I told her that this was what writing a number in standard form is like, compact but still the same number as an expanded one.

Expanded Form

Then we practiced, I would say a number out loud and she would write it down in standard form.  Next, I blew up the balloon about half way and explained that writing a number in expanded form draws out all the numbers that we add up to make the number.  It is a little bigger, but is still a balloon.  We wrote the expanded number right on the balloon.  Of course we talked about how it is still the same number as the one written in standard form, but now it's just expanded like the balloon.

Finally, I got another balloon and blew it up as much as I could.  We talked about how writing a number in word form takes up a lot of space because you have to write out the numbers you are hearing in words.  We also wrote the number in word form directly on the balloon.

Word Form

We practiced writing the different forms of numbers and by the end it seemed to do the trick.  She remembered!  My cutie pie student was super excited to take the balloons home to play with them the rest of the evening.

What fun ideas do you have for helping your students remember math vocabulary?

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