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

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

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

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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