Monday, November 21, 2011

Decimal Help!!

Our school uses the Saxon math program.  I loved it in the younger grades when students had plenty of hands on experience with math concepts, but in the upper grades where we use the "Course" books students really struggle with number sense.  There just doesn't seem to be enough emphasis on massed practice before moving on to the next day's topic.  As a result, our students seem to be steam rolled with new concept after new concept, without much understanding behind what it is that they are learning.  They memorize a "way" or a "shortcut" without having learned the meaning behind it, and it drives me INSANE!

I'm looking for resources to help my kids really understand decimal placement for +/-/X/div., why longer "numbers" aren't necessarily bigger, using a repented bar, turning decimals into percents and turning fractions into decimals.  We have plant of worksheets.  I'm looking for something concrete.  They really need some sort of model since their number sense is so poor in this area.  Please leave a comment if you know of something that would help in their understanding.  I'm even thinking that I need to go back a grade or two to help them understand basic concepts before they will be able to master our objectives.

Thanks for the suggestions!  I'm really needing some help thinking out of the box, or book!


Kim said...

Hi Jena!

If you use the decimal cards (from Pinterest), you can reinforce the "more digits isn't a larger number" concept... by playing "War" (although we play "Peace" in my classroom).

As an intro to that, I usually have the kids make a human number line. I make cards with decimals like .0872 and 1.06 and 1.2 and have the kids line up from least to greatest. When comparing two numbers, I ask them to line up the decimals and compare... As soon as one place "wins," we say "Game over" since that number is greater.

I also spend lots of time with Base 10 blocks "illustrating" decimals... one flat, three rods, two cubes is 1.32. I even bought tiny flat beads to show hundredths. Sometimes it helps if you ask them to draw the amount...

Hope that helps. Isn't it so much harder to teach math these days when the kids lack number sense?!

Finding JOY in 6th Grade

Caught in the Middle said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Kim! I love the card game idea...we may have to make room for that one tomorrow!

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