I developed a mat to help my students finally understand place value. I created a city block called Place Value Town. Reading Road, at the top of the mat, is a one way street from left to right. The street at the bottom of the mat is Placement Parkway, a one way street from right to left. Two cross streets are Comma Cut on the left of the block and Decimal Drive on the right of the block. There are three houses on this block called H, T and O for hundreds, tens and ones. There is also one house on the other side of Comma Cut called TH for thousands. This visual helps my students see that a number is read only one way but the numbers are placed in reverse order. This established the place. The value referred to the number of people who live in the house. For example, 105 means that one person lives in house H, five people live in house O but, just because no one lives in house T doesn't mean the house isn't there. The house on the next block, TH, is there so they can begin to understand higher numbers as well. I gloss over the decimal point by talking about the decimal point in money. This satisfies them as well as prepares them for future math.