Teaching decimals can be enough to set a kid's hair on fire. Once they are confused, it's pretty tricky to set the ship right again. Sometimes what is needed is to just start over with step-by-step lessons that clear the cobwebs, and let understanding shine through! These six tips are sure to help!
1. The most important thing for kids to understand completely before attacking decimals, is the place value system. If a child doesn't know that the 5 in 5,467 stands for 5,000 and the 6 stands for 60, misunderstandings in decimals is sure to follow.
2. Start with money. Kids are all about anything that has to do with money. Starting with what they know allows teachers to discuss the idea of tenths and hundredths as these concepts apply to decimals.
3. Move to manipulatives. Base ten blocks are perfect for this activity!
4. Practice how to say and read decimals. Reading numbers like "five and two hundredths" sounds odd to kids who are not familiar with decimals. Use lots of opportunities to read and say decimals aloud.
5. Focus on that decimal point! Decimals are all about that symbol. Once kids really understand the importance of the decimal point, everything is much easier! I give the decimal point a name. It's name is "and". When kids here the word "and" they know a decimal is in the number, and they know where it is! The decimal point LOVES to yell out its name!
6. Use GAMES! Kids need lots of practice with decimals to really understand what it is all about. Decimals is definately a hands-on skill!
This video is an AWESOME lesson on teaching decimals using a simple game. Don't miss this one from the teaching channel!
This site has decimal addition, subtraction, multiplication and rounding games!
To find games that match a particular math Common Core standard in your grade level (4th, 5th or 6th), check out this great site! This game is called Genius Defender Decimals.
This site is filled with decimal games for fourth and fifth graders. This one works on place value up to 5 decimal places.
You have to be fast on this one! Use < > and = signs with decimals!
You'll love this site from Mr. Nussbaum! It includes a decimals workshop, videos, games and more! This game is called "Decimals of the Caribbean".