Q&A #1609


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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 28, 1999 at 06:47:08
Subject: Re: Thousandth

What sorts of models did you use to work with tenths and hundredths? In my
fifth grade classroom we use unit blocks (Dienes blocks), and we change the
unit that names one whole often, so my students get used to using wholes of
different sizes. One day a flat might be the whole, and the next day, it
might be a long.

That makes it easier for me to help my students understand that each place
value is ten times larger (or smaller) than the one next to it.

Once students see that relationship, it is not difficult for them to
understand that thousandths are hundredths cut into ten pieces...

A fun activity that helps to illustrate this in a rather silly way is to talk
about gas station price signs. Often these stations have 9 elevated numbers
after the price number. It annoys me that they do that, since it sort of
resembles an exponent. I refer to that number, and have students make
observations on their way home to confirm it. Then, we draw a model of a
"giant" penny (about the size of a paper plate) and cut it out. We use a
protractor to divide it into ten equal parts, then cut it into tenths. I
remind my students that a penny is a hundredth of a dollar. From that, we
decide that each of the tiny pieces of penny must be a thousandth.

Hope this gives you a starting point.

 -Gail, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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