5th Grade Math Help for Decimals

In most 5th grade curriculums, students are introduced to decimals and learn to add and subtract decimals to the hundredths. They also learn to compare decimals with fractions. Here are ways to introduce decimals to the millionths if your child knows whole numbers to the millions.

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Teaching Your 5th Grader about Decimals

Introducing Decimals

Begin by writing a 7-digit number on a white board, such as 9,876,135. Starting at the right, write the place values and names under each digit, asking for your child's input each time (ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands, millions). Read the number for her, being sure you do not include an 'and.' Tell her that today she will learn where the 'and' comes in reading a number. Be sure she can read the number correctly.

Place a decimal point at the end of the number and write six digits after that, so the full number will look like this: 9,876,135.246798. Point out that the dot is called a decimal point and that you read it as 'and.' Then, starting right after the decimal point, write the place value and name for each digit in the decimal (tenths, hundredths, thousandths, ten thousandths, hundred thousandths, millionths). Ask your child to explain the similarities and differences between the names before and after the decimal.

Read the new number to her, emphasizing the 'and.' In this example, you would read it as 'nine million, eight hundred seventy-six thousand, one hundred thirty-five and two hundred forty-six thousand seven hundred ninety-eight millionths.' Then, you can have her join you in reading the number.

Comparing Decimals with Fractions

Write the decimal 0.2 on the white board, and ask your child is she can think of another way to write this number. Point out that the 2 in the decimal 0.2 is in the tenths place, which is why it can be placed over 10 in a fraction. Test your child's knowledge by asking him or her to convert another decimal into a fraction, such as 0.35, which can be turned into the fraction 35/100.

Adding and Subtracting Decimals

Fifth graders have already learned to add and subtract using whole numbers. Point out to your child that adding and subtracting numbers with decimals is just like adding and subtracting whole numbers. The only difference is that he must include the decimal in the answer. When adding 1.25 + 1.10, the answer should also have two decimal places: 2.35.

Counting Money and Decimals to the Hundredths

Using play money is a practical way to teach about decimals to the hundredths. You can find websites that have play money for you to print out. By counting out play coins, your child can learn how many pennies make a nickel, dime and quarter; how many nickels make a dime and quarter; and so on. Do the same with the bills.

Then she can learn about mixing coins to make different amounts of money, such as $5.14 or $25.84. Point out that monetary amounts use a decimal point; as a result, you child can practice both writing and counting different amounts of money. This is also a good time to teach him how to make change.

Playing Decimal Games

Kids often play fun and complex games on the computer. The downside of this is that it may be hard to engage them in learning that's not as fun as what they do in their free time. The upside is that there are computer games that teach math, including decimals. Search the Internet for free games that will allow your child to practice while having fun.

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