By Brenda J. Church on July 02 2018 19:17:32

If a child is really confused about decimals, converting decimal numnbers into money is a great way to make things clearer. For example: a child may be asked to say how much bigger 1.3 is than 0.9. If they convert these decimals into money (£1.30 and 90p) they may find that they can do this calculation very quickly in their head, getting the answer 40p which they convert back into the decimal, 0.4. Demonstrating that money maths depends on decimal understanding is also an easy way to prove that decimals are actually useful in real life!

Be careful when discussing tenths, hundredths, and thousandths with your children. Pronounce these terms with special emphasis on the “-ths” to help avoid their confusion with tens, hundreds, and thousands.

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.

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.

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