What you need to know

Things to remember:

  • You can use your finger to read place value from right to left.

When finding place value, we read from right to left: units, tens, hundreds, … Let’s look at the number 485

5\rightarrow Units

8\rightarrow Tens

4\rightarrow Hundreds

This means that we have 5 units, 8 tens, and 4 hundreds, or:

400 + 80 + 5 = 485

We can so the same when looking at four-digit numbers, we just need to know that the fourth-place value is “Thousands”. So, for the 5236 we’d write:

6\rightarrow Units

3\rightarrow Tens

2\rightarrow Hundreds

7\rightarrow Thousands

So, we have 7 “thousands”, 2 “hundreds”, 3 “tens”, and 6 “units”.

A typical question will ask you to find the value of a specific digit, such as “what is the value of the 9 in 2944?” To do this, we just read from right to left until we get to the 9.

4\rightarrow Units

4\rightarrow Tens

9\rightarrow Hundreds

So, the 9 represents the hundreds. This means that we have 9 hundreds, or 900. Notice how we didn’t need to go all the way up to the thousands as we stopped at the hundreds!

Example Questions

Question 1: What is the value of the 2 in 3421?


1\rightarrow Units

2\rightarrow Tens

The two represents the tens, so is worth 20.


Our answer is 20.

Question 2: The place value of the 4 in 4672 is 400. Is this correct?


2\rightarrow Units

7\rightarrow Tens

6\rightarrow Hundreds

4\rightarrow Thousands

The 4 represents the thousands, so is actually worth 4000.


400 is not correct, the answer is 4000.