It's the beginning of the school year, and that means it's time to teach place value. Right!? It seems that this is the time of year that every single teacher, no matter the grade, is doing some sort of place value review. For the upper elementary grades, it's time to start introducing decimal place value. Woo! It sure can be a doozy, and I can't believe I've never blogged about it. I've blogged about Teaching Place Value, Adding & Subtracting Decimals, and Multiplying and Dividing Decimals, but never introducing decimals. A lot of what I do for decimal place value is VERY similar to regular place value, with a few tweaks, so you might see some similarities crop up here! 🙂
Here is our introducing decimal place value anchor chart… It's nearly identical to our place value chart, which in some ways helps the kids see that it's all very similar. The most important part for me is the “Remember” section. It's imperative that kids remember that the further LEFT of the decimal, the LARGER the value. The further to the right of the decimal, the smaller the value of the digit
I have to admit that this way of writing numbers in expanded form is SUCH a hard concept for my kids to grasp each year. I was sweating bullets the first year I introduced it, but using money as a comparison (1/10 of a dollar) helped most of them. We do a lot of money comparisons throughout this unit!
As we usually do, we make an entry in our interactive notebook that is similar to the anchor chart. The flaps on the place value chart lift up to show a number, and again, the key below the chart is imperative! Under each triangle, we show the number written different ways and write notes about each type of writing.
Under the “Word Form” tab, I always make sure to have kids note that the “AND” goes where the decimal goes and the place of the last number to the right is the one that is written last.
Whoops! In my sample, it's missing the tens place, but it's there in the template 🙂
You can download my templates for free HERE. In my templates, I included a picture form for those of you who want to show your students how to represent decimals on hundreds charts. In the template, I also include a short “proof of learning” activity for the left side. It's VERY basic, but it is a simple way for students to show their understanding.
Another practice element I use is my task cards. I like to switch up how I use them, so I used them in their notebooks this time. Each page of four cards covers the same topic, so I printed them four to a page so that they were small. Each table group gets a page and each student at the group takes one for each topic and completes it. Then they rotate around and check each other's. That's kind of a complicated explanation of how they divvy up the cards, so here's a better picture. 🙂
Another activity that I use for either homework, review, morning work, or assessment, is my FREE Decimal Place Value Review. It covers all the common place value concepts such as rounding, comparing, standard form, expanded form, etc. with decimals.
The very last thing we do with decimal place value is error analysis. It's one of my favorite ways to assess student understanding because if they can find the errors in the problems, they get it! Not only is it a challenge for them to find the errors, but then they have to articulate what the error is, write the correct answer, and create another similar problem to show what they know. I have an error analysis set for almost all of my math units, and I'll be honest, half the class cheers and the other half groans when I pull these out… but their groans are in good fun, because they just LOVE the challenge of finding the errors!
Not quite ready for Decimal Error Analysis? I have a regular place value version, too!
Are you still in search of more excellent ideas for solidifying decimal place value concepts? Check out these blog posts from others! Click on the name to read their full blog posts. They are fabulous.