# Working with Decimal Numbers

**Strand:** Number

**Outcomes:** 8, 9, 10, 11

## Step 3: Plan for Instruction

### Guiding Questions

- What learning opportunities and experiences should I provide to promote learning of the outcomes and permit students to demonstrate their learning?
- What teaching strategies and resources should I use?
- How will I meet the diverse learning needs of my students?

### A. Assessing Prior Knowledge and Skills

Before introducing new material, consider ways to assess and build on students' knowledge and skills related to counting.

Ways to Assess and Build on Prior Knowledge

### B. Choosing Instructional Strategies

Consider the following general strategies for teaching fractions and decimals:

- Access students' prior knowledge of fractions and decimals and build on this understanding.
- Develop understanding of decimals by relating them to whole numbers and to fractions.
- Use everyday contexts such as units of measurement to facilitate understanding of decimals.
- To develop understanding, use a variety of concrete representations (e.g., base ten materials, metre sticks, transparent decimal grids that can be superimposed on one another) and connect them to pictorial and symbolic representations.
- To demonstrate understanding, have the students represent the symbolic fractions and decimals concretely and pictorially.
- Emphasize that all fractions can be written as decimals that represent the same part of the whole region or whole set. Build on students' understanding of equivalent fractions to show that is equivalent to or or , which can be written as 0.5 or 0.50 or 0.500. Similarly, emphasize that all decimals can be written as fractions.
- Provide many examples of the three models for fractions and decimals: part of a region, part of a length or measurement and part of a set.
- Reinforce the relationship between the symbolic and pictorial modes (symbolic fraction name, pictorial parts, pictorial whole) by posing problems in which two of these are provided and the student determines the third by using their models (Van de Walle and Lovin 2006).
- Emphasize the meaning of a decimal as the various ways to compare decimals are explored. Encourage flexibility in thinking as students compare decimals.
- Connect ordering decimals to ordering whole numbers and fractions:
- Equivalent fractions are used to find common denominators in ordering fractions. Similarly, equivalent decimals are used to change all decimals to the same number of place values after the decimal in ordering decimals.
- Benchmarks are used in ordering decimals just as benchmarks are used in ordering whole numbers and fractions.
- Place value is used in ordering whole numbers and is also used in ordering decimal

- Access students' prior knowledge of adding and subtracting decimals to hundredths and connect it to adding and subtracting decimals to thousandths.
- Emphasize estimating sums and differences of decimals to thousandths prior to calculating the exact answers.

### C. Choosing Learning Activities

Learning Activities are examples of activities that could be used to develop student understanding of the concepts identified in Step 1.