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Teaching Math: A Video Library, K-4

Everyday Decimals

Video Overview

Before this lesson, students searched for items in their homes that had fractions or decimals written on them and brought them to school. Students now extend their understanding of common fractions to notation for decimal fractions and to the numeration system. They begin to interpret the use of decimals encountered in the real world. Students first review their knowledge of fractions. Then the class compares decimals and fractions using a large Venn diagram to organize the information. The class also discusses the decimals and fractions on its items. Students use base-ten materials to model wholes, tenths, and hundredths and to relate fractions to decimals. Students represent the decimal on their items with paper mats (which represent wholes), strips (which represent tenths), and units (which represent hundredths). Throughout the lesson, students employ mental math. To conclude the lesson, the differences between the whole number and the decimal component of the number are stressed.


Topics for Discussion

The following areas provide a focus for discussion after you view the video. You may want to customize these areas or focus on your own discussion ideas.


Developing Decimal Knowledge

  1. What aspects of decimals were encountered in this lesson?

  2. Identify the similarities and differences between common fractions and decimal fractions that the students discovered. How can their responses be used to develop more fully the connections between common fractions and decimal fractions?

  3. How were the base-ten blocks used to help students relate common fractions and decimal fractions? How else could base-ten blocks be used?

  4. How was the term unit used in the video? Discuss the term as it applies to wholes, tenths, and hundredths.

  5. This lesson introduced decimals. How would you follow up this lesson?

  6. As a result of watching the video, what questions could you ask students to help them develop decimal knowledge? What questions about helping students develop decimal knowledge were answered as a result of watching this video?

  7. How appropriate was this lesson for students of different ages in this multigrade classroom?


Making Home Connections

  1. Students were told to look for decimals at home and to bring examples of decimals to school. What are the advantages and disadvantages of asking students to do such an activity?

  2. The task of finding decimals was a homework assignment. Identify the benefits of this type of homework as opposed to more traditional homework, such as practice exercises.

  3. What would you do to ensure that parents understood the purpose of the home activity in this lesson or any similar type of homework assignment?

  4. How did the use of household products contribute to the students1 learning in this lesson?

  5. With all these household products in the classroom, what other experiences could be developed for students that would use the products and further the students1 understanding of decimals or other mathematics?

  6. Think of and list other home connections that could enhance the students1 study of decimals.


Extensions

More Home Connections

Describe the role of homework in learning mathematics and the characteristics of 3good2 homework. List possible home connections for different strands of the mathematics curriculum. For example, students could conduct a scavenger hunt for common fractions. In a unit on data analysis, they could count the pairs of shoes belonging to each member of the family and then combine their data with other class members for data analysis.

Getting Parents Involved Throughout the year, Ms. Sienicki gives students homework that must be done with someone at home. Brainstorm other ways to get parents involved in their children1s education in your class. For example, how could you introduce your curriculum to parents at the beginning of the year? What could you include in parent-teacher conferences? Some parents may be uncomfortable with the NCTM teaching standards, because they promote a different way of teaching from how parents were taught. How could you make parents comfortable with the NCTM standards? In what ways could you maintain an ongoing relationship between you and parents and between parents and their children1s school work? Once you have come up with a list of ideas, review them and choose one to implement. After you have done it, critique its effectiveness and apply what you have learned to your other ideas.



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