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One thing that has helped my fourth graders is continually referring back to the idea that decimals and mixed numerals (or fractions) name the same amount. For example, 1 25/100 is the same thing as 1.25 . Of course, that can get tricky when you are thinking about 1 1/4, can't it? We also color in models of decimals using grids that are 10 x 10. Each grid is worth one whole. Students can begin to visualize the amounts, and to relate the shaded region to a fraction amount they are familiar with. Using money as a model is also a good way to help students gain a mental picture of the amount they are working with. Make the one dollar bill worth one whole. Then the dimes will be tenths, and the pennies will be hundredths.
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