Introduction to Decimals
Sticking to the Point
So far you have studied about whole number, natural numbers and fractions. You know that there are a ton of numbers that lie between whole numbers called fractions. Well, there’s another group of numbers that lie between two whole numbers and they are called Decimals.
The Big Idea: What are Decimals?
As stated earlier, decimals are numbers that feature between two whole numbers on a number line or the number system.
There is an intimate and intricate relationship between fractions and decimals that is explored more in depth in the article Relationship between Decimals and Fractions.
However, one of the most important concepts to remember when working with decimals is to pay extra attention to place value. Like most things in math, the same concepts of place values translate to decimals as we observed for whole numbers. The more places you travel to the right, the smaller it gets. The main difference is that decimals start after the POINT that precedes the units place.
The Point simply marks the point where the decimal component of the number begins.
How do I understand
Why are decimals important?
Many times, children ask, “What’s the point of decimals?”
Firstly, as decimals allow us to express numbers between two whole numbers, they allow us to make precise measurements. The more the decimal places, the greater the precision.
Secondly, they allow us to express fractions in a manner that lets us use place values on a number line for easier arrangement and more accuracy.
Here are a few links that will take you through the journey that every Cuemath students undertakes in the pursuit of understanding Decimals along with practice worksheets:
- Relationship between Fractions and Decimals
- Addition and Subtractions of Decimals
- Multiplication of Decimals
- Division of Decimals
How Do you Teach Decimals?
The crucial thing to remember about decimals is that they are completely analogous to fractions. In essence they are interchangeable. So make sure that all the topics that led up to fractions, are crystal clear conceptually.
These are a few steps that you can take to build your concepts and work on retaining the same over a long period of time:
Chunking: This is an age old practice that involves incorporating questions and concepts from foundational topics while reading up on and practicing decimals. Ensure that your child’s practice material has a few questions from fractions, and operations on fractions and integers thrown in.
Flash Cards are your friends: Flash cards are an invaluable tool to keep concepts at the forefront of your mind. Conduct sprint preparation sessions which involve conceptual flash cards.