By Brenda J. Church on May 16 2018 11:09:12

Understanding decimals is vital for real-life, everyday maths. Phoebe Doyle offers some teacher tips to help your Key Stage 2 child understand what decimals are and how to use this knowledge in calculations.

In KS2 children are taught that decimals are another way of writing fractions. The hundred number square is a really good way of showing children the equivalence between fractions and decimals.

As well as a printed blank hundred square, another way to visualise decimals is to make a decimal stick. Get a cane or long stick, place with tape a number 1 to the right hand end, then a 0 to the left. Ask them now to place 0.5 in the middle, then together work out where all the other decimal points should go.

Children may find the easiest way to work this out is by using the column method, where all the numbers are placed in a column, one on top of the other. It is vital that they remember that the decimal points of each number must line up. Once they’ve worked out using pencil and paper, let them check on a calculator as using decimals accurately on a calculator is an important real life skill too.

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