Q&A #1609


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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 07, 1999 at 20:52:22
Subject: Re: Thousandth

I am guessing that your students already know how to write decimals in the tenths and hundredths places. If they have, then this is just another step in the development of their place value understanding. You should relate the decimal to the fraction, though. I am assuming they have an understanding of what the numerator and denominator mean. Relating 1/100 or 1/1000 would be a step in helping them visualize the relative magnitudes of the decimal amounts. Have you played any counting games with the calculator? When you use the constant function on a calculator, and have it add 0.01, the students can see what happens as the number grows larger. If you do not have the number of decimal places fixed, when it gets to 10/100, the display will not read 0.10 because the calculator automatically leaves off trailing zeroes (at least, my explorers do.) So, trying that same sort of activity with a + 0.001 constant could help students make the connection between tenths and hundredths and thousandths. Surely they already write money amounts. This would be a good time to help them relate the place values they see on one side of the decimal with those they see on the other side. I do not know how advanced your students are, but they might be interested in what happens to the exponents as we move back and forth across the place value line. One side of the decimal point has positive exponents, and the other side has negative exponents. As for other hands on materials, you can take 1 cm graph paper and cut some "wholes from it, (10 X 10 squares), then some tenths (1X10 rectangles), and some hundredths (1X1 squares). Then, ask your students to cut one of the hundredths into ten pieces. (They could use the mm markings on their rulers...) There are some really cute materials put out by Creative Publications. The ones that come quickly to mind are the decimal dog (which is a hotdog cut into tenths and hundredths, or hundredths and thousandths, depending on how you value the whole hotdog), and fries. My fourth graders loved playing with them last year. Talking about an interesting and meaningful worksheet, I favor some sort of comparing acitivity, where they have to color/shade the two decimals and make discoveries about the relative sizes. I would love to hear about what you come up with. -Gail, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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