Date: Jun 20, 1995 1:31 PM
Author: Norm Krumpe
Subject: Saying Decimal Numbers

>Now to the math.  Once you get out of grade school, answers become too
>complex to have to first figure out the appropriate name for 32756.3245.
>If a student reads off the answer as thirty-two thousand, seven hundred
>fifty six and three thousand two hundred forty five ten-thousandths, then
>both the student and I have wasted time. First the student wasted time
>counting off place values to figure out what to say, and then I waste time
>interpreting. 3-2-7-5-6 point 3-2-4-5 is much clearer.

It's not necessarily conceptually clearer. Only clearer in what was just
said, and easier to remember what was said. While I agree that numbers are
easier to say digit by digit (in cases such as the above), I believe we are
responsible for teaching formalities before we allow students to slip into
the informal "everyday" way of speaking.

And, I've seen many students have difficulty remembering how to convert 0.45
to fractional representation UNTIL they learned how to say the number as
"forty-five hundredths". And those who COULD make the conversion were doing
it based on a rule of counting digits after the decimal point.

Norm Krumpe