Fun with Decimals!

Greetings everyone!

We've been plugging along with fractions and decimals.

One of the ideas that was difficult for my students to understand is how to labels decimals on a number line.

The common core standard reads as such:
4.NF.7 Compare two decimals to hundredths by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two decimals refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual model.

Oh, sure.  If it were only that easy.  I tried relating it to money.  I tried relating it to whole numbers.  I got mostly blank stares.  I was surprised, because usually at least the money analogy works. 

Oh, what to do?  Well, my groups this year LOVE, LOVE, LOVE songs/raps/making hand movements, etc.

So, I said, "OK, get up! Push in your chairs!"

"Let's use our bodies!"

I explained that we were going to make our bodies into number lines.

The middle of our bodies would represent 0.5 or 0.50.

Then, to the left of us would be all of the decimals from 0.01 to 0.49 (We also talked about how if we stuck our arms out as far as possible to the left that we would have just "touched" 0.)

Then, to the right of us would be all of the decimals from 0.51 to 0.99 (And...if we stretched out really far, we'd reach 1.0).

Seems simple.  So why did it take me this long to do this with my students?  Don't you just love "Ah ha!" moments?  I do!

So, we talked about how 0.25 would be half way between as far out as we could stretch our left hand out and the middle of our bodies. Therefore, 0.75 would be half way between how far out we could stretch out our right hand and the middle of our bodies.  This seemed to do the trick!

I'd call a decimal and they would have to quickly stretch the correct arm out the correct distance away from their bodies. 

Take a look at this "decimal".

What decimal do you think she is trying to represent?

Do you know the best part of this activity?  I could see them "doing decimals" when comparing decimals while taking their tests!

"Ah ha!"

I'd like to also share this freebie with you.  We used this flipbook in our math notebooks to help us remember the vocabulary terms related to decimals.

 Just click on the images to head to my TpT store to download them :)


  1. I've never thought about teaching decimals that way! Good idea!

  2. I love it! I'll try it tomorrow and let you know how it goes for me! As soon as I think my kids have this concept, they prove me wrong on an assignment-my kids love movement too! I seriously laughed out loud about the torn border announcement! Hilarious! Maybe only to me because these same things drive me crazy too!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. Great idea!! Thank you for sharing! We are not there yet (we are soooooo behind!!!) but I will remember it when we get there. We are still trying to compare fractions. Yay rah!

    Collaboration Cuties

  4. brilliant, as always!!! What a great way to get them to really understand the numbers!

    I loved the torn border...not because the borders is ripped (I'm sorry to see that) but because I have the same thing going on in my room. Makes me feel better that I'm not alone :)

  5. I'm working on this skill right now and this is BRILLIANT!! Thank you!

  6. HI Elizabeth! I LOVE this idea! This would be a perfect visual to help my 3rd grade students with their fractions on a number line.
    Enjoy your weekend!


  7. We have decimals on number lines next week....or maybe the week after with the state writing test and our field trip....I WILL def. be doing this with my kiddos. Songs work well so I know this will be great!!! Thank for the idea and the amazing inspiration:)))))) You ROCK!!

    4th Grade Frolics

  8. I LOVE this! Thank you! Even though I teach 5th this year, my kids totally need this! Not to mention, with all of the indoor recess we have been having, this will be great to get my kids moving!! AWESOME!!

    YoungTeacherLove 5th Grade Blog

  9. I have to comment on your pictures...I LOVE the graphics on their faces, it made me laugh! I've only ever seen dots or smiley faces, but I love this! I'm your newest follower! I'm just starting out a blog and I would love for you to stop by sometime in you have the chance. I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

    Jungle Learners

  10. Ha! A moment of brilliance - so cool thanks for sharing your tidbits. Shows you know your kiddos well.

  11. BRILLIANT!!! I am so going to steal this when we "revisit" decimals soon. And do you know what I love even more?? They look like they're dancing in the pics. ;) LOVE.