FREE printables · Math

Understanding Place Value with Decimals

PicMonkey Collage place value

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Place value.

If you are to have any type of understanding of math concepts you have to understand place value.

I remember sitting in a college class playing with manipulatives while we learned how to teach subtracting with regrouping. The light bulb came on, and for the first time in my life I understood what that little one I was adding to my problems meant. Oh, I could do subtraction all day following the procedure my teachers had taught me, but I didn’t have a clue why I was doing it.

I don’t want that for my students. At the moment I’m teaching the cutest Kindergarten student (yes, I’m a little bias),but the majority of my teaching career has been spent in upper elementary. As upper grade teachers we often get into the mindset that maniputives and place value are for those early years, but they are just as important in 3-5 as they were in k-2.

Much of fourth and fifth grade is spent with fractions and decimals, so it imperative that they are seeing how place value corresponds with these new concepts.

One way is to teach what happens when a number is moved one place to the left or to the right, and to know that a 5 in the ones place is very different from the 5 in the 10’s place.

So what happens when a digit in the ones place is moved one place to the right? You guessed it, it is multiplied by 10.

What happens when you move a digit one place to the left? Yep, you have divided by 10!

From North Carolina Unpacking Standards


So how do you teach this. Get out those base ten blocks and play with them. Get out grid paper and have the children color and cut to help them understand what is happening.

This video from Learn Zillion is a great example of how to teach this.

Or download this interactive notebook FREEBIE to give your students one example of what happens when you move one digit to the right, and one digit to the left!!!

Click HERE to get your freebie.

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