By Jill J. Williams on July 02 2018 03:16:39
Understanding decimals is vital for real-life, everyday maths. Phoebe Doyle offers some teacher tips to help your Key Stage 2 child understand what decimals are and how to use this knowledge in calculations.
Division with remainders. Your child will most likely come across or ask about situations where division “does not work.” These can be explained with the introduction of the remainder. It is an important idea to understand as the division of larger numbers will require the “carrying” of this remainder.
That still leaves the problem of memorizing a string of numbers, and here’s where the magic is. Teach children to skip count to the tune of a simple song. Have you ever wondered why children can learn the lyrics to songs so easily? It is because music can be used as a Mnemonic device, that is a strategy to assist with memorization. If you can associate the numbers with the sounds in a song, the children will not only learn them faster, but retain them much longer than they would memorizing them exclusively through repetition.
If a child is really confused about decimals, converting decimal numnbers into money is a great way to make things clearer. For example: a child may be asked to say how much bigger 1.3 is than 0.9. If they convert these decimals into money (£1.30 and 90p) they may find that they can do this calculation very quickly in their head, getting the answer 40p which they convert back into the decimal, 0.4. Demonstrating that money maths depends on decimal understanding is also an easy way to prove that decimals are actually useful in real life!