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Number & place value in Year 3 (age 7–8)

In Year 3, your child will start to work with bigger numbers, all the way up to 1000. They will count in multiples of 4, 8, 50, and 100, and will use their understanding of place value to solve increasingly tricky number problems.

The key words for this section are number and place value.

What your child will learn

Take a look at the National Curriculum expectations for number and place value in Year 3 (ages 7–8):

Count in 4s, 8s, and 50s from 0, and in 10s and 100s from any number

Your child will count forward and backward from 0 in 4s, 8s, and 50s. They should start to see patterns in the numbers. For example, they might see that multiples of 8 always end in an even number, and will therefore know that 41 isn’t a multiple of 8.

They will also be able to find 10 or 100 more or less than a given number. For example, they will be able to see that 176 is 100 more than 76 and 10 more than 166.

Recognise the place value of three-digit numbers

Place value allows us to represent all our numbers with just the digits 0–9. Your child will learn that the position of the digit in a number tells us the value of the digit. In Year 3, they will practise on numbers up to three digits long. For example:

In 423, there are four hundreds, two tens, and three ones.

Note that your child will use the word ones and not units when talking about place value.

Your child will also need to understand using zero as a placeholder. For example, when writing the number one hundred and three, we write this as 103, where 0 is used to show that there are no tens in the number.

Compare and order numbers up to 1000

Your child will compare numbers up to 1000 by saying which number is bigger or smaller than another number. They will also learn to put a selection of numbers between 0 and 1000 in order. For example:

375, 941, 43, 2, 95, 500 in order from smallest to largest is 2, 43, 95, 375, 500, 941.

Children will use the vocabulary more, less, fewer, more than, less than, equal to, equivalent, and the same value as when comparing numbers. They will accurately use the more than (>), less than (<) and equals (=) symbols to compare numbers.

Identify, represent, and estimate numbers shown in different ways

Your child will use numerals, words, objects, drawings, diagrams, pictures, and symbols to represent numbers. This includes using number lines and number squares.

Read and write numbers up to 1000

Your child will be able to read and write numbers in numerals (for example, 253) and in number words (for example, two hundred and fifty-three).

Solve number problems and practical problems

Your child will solve problems involving:

  • counting
  • ordering
  • comparing.

Their knowledge of place value will be very useful for this. They will use physical objects, drawings, diagrams, and mathematical symbols to visualise problems.

How to help at home

There are lots of ways you can help your child to understand number and place value. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Represent numbers creatively

Showing numbers in interesting ways really helps your child to understand number and place value. You could try using symbols to represent numbers with your child. For example:

143 could be represented by Δ IIII ΟΟΟ, where Δ represents 100, I represents 10, and Ο represents 1.

See if your child come up with their own pictures to represent hundreds, tens, and ones. Then, see if you can figure out what numbers they are writing using their new system. You could then use their system yourself, and see if they can work out which numbers you have written down.

Place value charts can also be a great way to help your child represent numbers. These charts will help your child to read, write, and compare numbers, as well as to understand zero as a placeholder. Here is a simple example:

2. Compare and order numbers

When comparing numbers up to 1000, your child should look at the digit with the largest value first. For example, if your child is comparing the numbers 765 and 276, they would first need to look at the digit with the largest value, i.e. the hundreds digit:

276 has 2 hundreds, and 765 has 7 hundreds, so 276 is less than 765.

However, if we compare the numbers 765 and 754, they both have the same number of hundreds. Therefore, we now need to look at the tens digit:

765 has 6 tens, and 754 only has 5 tens, so 765 is more than 754.

Try this game to practise comparing numbers. Write twenty two- and three-digit numbers and the ‘>’ and ‘<’ symbols on separate pieces of paper. Deal your child two numbers, face down. Ask them to turn over the pieces of paper and to use the ‘>’ and ‘<’ symbols to show which number is bigger or smaller.

Why not try again with a timer? How many pairs can they order correctly in 30 seconds?

Activity: Number statements

Drag and drop the symbols to complete the number statements.

3. Practise counting

Your child should now use the word multiples to describe counting up in steps from zero, securing their understanding of multiplication.

They will be expected to count in multiples of 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 50, and 100. You could help your child practise by taking it in turns to say the multiples of a number. For example:

You: 4

Your child: 8

You: 12

… and so on.

Set a timer and see what number you can get to before a minute is up! Be sure to note any interesting patterns, like how multiples of five always end in a 5 or a 0.

4. Learn multiplication facts

In Year 3, it’s important that your child is able to recall multiplication facts. They will be likely to focus on the 3, 4, and 8 times tables. They will already be familiar with the 2, 5, and 10 times tables, but they will still practise them.

Games such as bingo, snap, and pairs can be adapted to focus on times tables. They make great short, quick-fire games that can be fitted in at any time of the day. For example, you could make some cards with times tables on half and their answers on the other half to play snap with when you are out and about.

Video: What are multiples?

Find out all about multiples.