As we think about decimals, we really try to make them look like money. After all, the kids have been working with money since about 1st grade, and will continue to use it their whole lives! We began our lesson on comparing decimals by simply coloring pictures of different decimals. When we got to forty hundredths and four tenths, the kids noticed they both cover the same amount of space. After we wrote the decimals in fraction form, the kids could really see why they are equivalent - because 4/10 and 40/100 are equivalent fractions. This lead into our discussion of Zero the Hero! When our decimals only go the the tenths place, we can add him in the hundredths place and it doesn't change the value. He can help us see the decimal as money, and he will also help us as we begin adding and subtracting decimals next week!
Adding Zero the Hero to make our decimal look like money
As we introduced decimals, we talked about their relationship with fractions. Both are parts of a whole. We focused on our base 10 number system, and the pattern it follows. We always spend lots of time looking at picture examples, naming them in mathematical language, relating them to fractions, and labeling them. The biggest connection our kids make with decimals, is its relationship to money. We take lots of time to relate the tenths place to dimes, and the hundredths place to pennies.
I'm a wife, mother of two, and 4th grade teacher who is totally in love with her job! I teach math and science to roughly 40 kids a year. I've tried to model my classroom after this quote by Elliot Eisner - "When the joy is in the journey, the journey will be pursued." I feel very fortunate to work in an amazing school district, where it is commonplace to push students to their full potential and settle for nothing less. I truly feel blessed!!