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**It’s very difficult to teach primary school kids especially the gifted ones who could
**

start learning decimal numbers a year earlier than their peers in order to prepare them

for a leap into Algebra. They are ready for basic Algebra but have not quite yet

mastered decimal numbers. This lesson helps them to better understand decimal

numbers.

The most common test is the question “Which number is bigger !."#! or !."#$. %ost

kids will give the wrong answer “!."#! is greater than !."#$. &urprisingly most will

get this question right “Are these two numbers the same !'(# and '(#$.

Why the zeros before the whole part and the zeros after the decimal part of a

decimal number do not matter?

000000000000345.65000000000000000

)ecimal numbers are written according to some rules. The decimal rules are also

consistent with normal whole numbers. A decimal number can be thought of as two

numbers plus together. The first number is the whole part* and the other one is the

decimal part. Therefore '.(# is ' plus with .(#

The leading zeros

+et’s look at a normal whole number, '(#

-undreds Tens .nits/ones0

' ( #

We can break the number up to see how the number '(# is constructed.

The construction of a number '(# actually means

' of 1!!s 2 ( of 1!s 2 # of ones.

3ow imagine e4tending this number '(# to show some hidden numbers. These

numbers have been taken away because they have no real value at all

Thousands -undreds Tens .nits/ones0

! ' ( #

&imilarly the construction of the number !'(# is

! of 1!!!s 2 ' of 1!!s 2 ( of 1!s 2 # of ones

We can see that ! of 1!!!s means 5ero. &o we do not count the number of !s leading

a number.

The trailing zeros after the decimal part of a decimal number

1

+et’s look at this number !."#!

)ecimal point Tenths61!th -undredth61!!th Thousandth61!!!th

. " # !

The construction of this decimal part of a decimal number means

"61! 2 #61!! 2 !61!!!

We can see that ! out of 1!!! is nothing. &o we can ignore this !. What it means is

that !."# is the same as !."#!

&imilarly !."#!! is the same as !."# because it means

"61! 2 #61!! 2 !61!!! 2 !61!!!!

!ercises

"uestions #nswers

Is !.'( 7 !.'(! True

Is '(# 7 '(#! 8alse

Is !'(# 7 '(# True

Which one is greater

.!9 and !.1! !.1!

!.!999999 and !.1!!!!!!! !.1!!!!!!!

'.!1 and :.99 '.!1

!'(# and '(" '("

Is 1" 4 1! 7 !1" 8alse

Is 1"!.! 7 1"! True

Then link this knowledge with decimal fractions. If the kids understand fractions well

enough to know that multiplying both numerator and denominator with the same

number will not alter the value of the fraction* this proof will help them to understand

the above rules in a different light. %ost bright kids would have enough built;in logic

to understand this reasoning intuitively

If we know that 16: is the same as 14: 6 :4: 7 :6(* then 161! is the same as 141! 6

1!41! 7 1!61!!

!.1 is 161!

!.1! is 1!61!!

+ogically* by deduction* if 1!61!! is the same as 161!* !.1! must be the same as !.1

The proof can be repeated with numbers !.1 and !.1!!

:

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