July 21, 2019

Visual Decimal Models Assist in the Learning Process

Decimal grid models and number line models are important visual representations to include in your decimal instruction.  Working with a variety of models helps students truly understand the meaning of what a decimal represents.  It is important for learners to comprehend that decimals are specific fractions of a whole number.

Hands-on activities that incorporate shading of decimal grid models support the development of decimal concepts.  You will find a FREE decimal activity and a 
FREE set of decimal grid models for tenths and hundredths in a previous blog post titled Hands-on Activities for Decimal Tenths and Hundredths.

If you are working with more advanced learners and the concept of decimal thousandths, the following FREEBIE may be helpful.

I feel it is important for teachers and students to practice reading 0.3 as "three tenths" instead of "zero point three".  Using the proper fraction-based name for a decimal helps our minds process the actual size of the decimal fraction.  The same idea applies to working with hundredths and thousandths.  Encouraging learners to read the fraction-based names helps them understand how small some values are compared to one .whole object

I have created a comprehensive set of 35 Decimal Posters to assist with decimal instruction.  The collection includes decimal tenths, decimal hundredths, and decimal thousandths.  Concepts such as decimal names, reading decimals, decimal values, equivalent decimals, comparing decimals, and money are included in the set.

When first working with decimals, many students struggle with the concept of comparing decimals and determining which decimal represents a larger quantity.  Decimal grid models are a very helpful visual at this time in their learning process.  Seeing decimals on a number line is another way for young learners to understand decimal size and decimal comparisons.  

Many learners will benefit from relating decimals to money.  Emphasizing that $1.00 is a "whole object" helps clarify the idea that dimes are equivalent to tenths and pennies are equivalent to hundredths.  Practice with writing decimals as monetary amounts will help solidify the relative value of tenths and hundredths.

Happy teaching,
Janet Mitchell

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