Visualize Place Value with Video

Video is a fantastic medium for teaching and learning and finding content online has never been easier. 

 But for students struggling to develop a particular skill, making their own video stories makes the lessons memorable and the learning process exciting.

Some of my young students in math were having difficulties recognizing hundred squares as bundles of 10 tens (place value). However, I knew that showing them the steps over and over again with base ten blocks wouldn’t be enough. I needed to find a different way to teach them that skill.

They needed to see the grouping or transformation taking place, but they had to do it themselves, in a new and exciting way.

So I created this video in iMovie, as a project that they could replicate making their own numbers.


Gif Animation showing the palm of a hand holding ten base blocks.
The instructional moment that students needed to visualize.

To create an effective instructional video, I defined the following requirements:

  • Show the making of a 3 digit number (269).
  • Focus the viewer’s attention on the hundreds place. 
  • No longer that 1.5 minutes (to keep students engaged).

With the help of some students we prepared the base ten blocks and captured all the steps to make the number 269.


The setup we used to shoot the video with an iPhone.

The rough cut was only 2.5 minutes long but it felt very slow.

The video needed some effects to make it shorter and to clearly show the change happening in the hundreds place.

Creative editing effects are a big part of video making and often help create the illusion of something happening on screen that couldn't happen in real life. I used two special effects in iMovie:

- Jump cuts to show how a group of 10 tens automatically transforms into a hundred. 

- Speed adjustment, to speed up the entire video at 180%.


Screenshot of editing a video on iMovie.
Jump cuts and speed adjustments can also be done on iMovie for iPad or iPhone.


The result was a 56 second video that met all the instructional requirements and a project that students were eager to replicate making their own numbers.

This was an exciting opportunity to create content that they have ownership over.

 Learn how using the Everyone Can Create Project ‘Creative Editing Effects’


All Comments

Posted on September 25, 2022

This is a great set up. Has inspired me on how we can use this for instructional video for other curriculum topics.

Posted on October 06, 2022

This is great! I love the idea of using video stories for those tough math concepts!

Posted on October 06, 2022

I love how you have students create these videos as well!

Posted on October 06, 2022

Very creative and engaging for the reluctant learner!

Posted on October 06, 2022

Thanks for the inspiration. I really liked your ideas here.

Posted on October 06, 2022

Fantastic idea. Thanks for the inspiration - I will be trying this with my students too!

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