2nd Grade - Math

LESSON PROBLEM: Data Analysis: What is the place value of a number?


The book "One Grain of Rice" by the author Demi is a mathematical folktale. A folktale is a story that has been told over and over again, usually by one person telling another. We can use this story to learn mathematical concepts. It is a wonderful story where valuable lessons are learned. You can learn about place value using this folktale about rice.

In the story, a child named Rani found rice belonging to the Raja. As a reward, Rani asked the Raja to give her one grain of rice the first day, two grains the next, four grains on the third day and each day after, double the rice of the day before.

Place value is when we give each digit in a number a value. In the story rice is used to show quantity. Rani starts out with one grain of rice and ends up with more than one billion grains of rice.

On day 5, Rani has 16 grains of rice. The first digit of this number is the ten's place. There is one ten in the number 16. In addition to the 1 ten there are 6 ones in the number 16.

Tens Ones
1 6

On day 6, Rani has 32 grains of rice. There are 3 tens in the number 32. There are 3 sets of ten. In addition to the 3 tens, there are 2 ones.

Tens Ones
3 2

On day 7, Rani has 64 grains of rice. There are 6 tens in the number 64. There are 6 sets of ten. In addition to the 6 tens, there are 4 ones.

Tens Ones
6 4

On the ninth day, Rani receives 256 grains of rice. How much is that? The number 256 has three digits. A different place value is given to each digit. The hundred's place is the first digit in this number. There are two sets of one hundred in the number 256. This number has two hundreds.

Hundreds Tens Ones
2 5 6

The middle digit of 256 is where we have the ten's place. We can see that there are 5 tens or 5 sets of ten. Now we can see that in addition to the 2 hundreds, we have 5 tens.

The last digit in the number 256 is 6. This is the one's place. There are 6 ones in the number 256.

We now see that there are 2 sets of 100, 5 sets of 10 and 6 ones in the number 256.

On Day 10, Rani has 512 grains of rice. How much is 512? What is the place value of that number?

Hundreds Tens Ones
5 1 2

The number 512 has three digits. If we look at the first digit in this number we can see that there are 5 sets of one hundred. It has 5 hundreds.

The middle digit of number is 1. We can see that there is 1 ten. In addition to the 5 hundreds, we have 1 ten.

The last digit in 512 is the 2. There are 2 ones in the number 512.

We can now see that there are 5 sets of 100, 1 set of 10 and 2 ones.

Everyday Rani receives more and more rice. On the twelth day, she receives "about four handfuls". On the sixteenth day, she receives "enough rice for two full bags". On day twenty-nine, she receives enough rice to fill "two royal storehouses". At the end of the story she has more than one billion grains of rice. Each of the numbers in the book can be broken down using place value.


With the use of index cards and rice, explore the concept of place value.

You will need:

Index cards (ONES, TENS, HUNDREDS printed on card)

Colored rice (purchased at craft stores)


Using various three or three digit numbers use the rice to indicate the place value of the numbers.


On day 11, Rani has 1,024 grains of rice. What is the place value of this four digit number? Write some more numbers that go with the story. Remember the correct place value of each number.


  • folktale
  • digit
  • number
  • mathematical
  • value

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