Even before kids can count, their brains are able to distinguish between quantities (when the difference is significant). For example, if a toddler has a large pile of 15 blocks and you show him 2 blocks by comparison, he will know his pile is greater. As kids get older and develop more sophisticated visual spatial skills and counting skills, they are able to compare quantities in more complex situations. But learning to compare decimals adds a new level of challenge. Are you ready for a simple activity to practice comparing decimals? Well, combine this cut and paste sort with visuals and hands on models for a fun way to get in some extra practice.
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This is a guest post from Rachel of You’ve Got This Math.
Compare Decimals Cut & Paste Prep:
I love cut and paste activities. Why? Because the children get to do all the work, not me! And this activity is no exception.
- First, print off one copy per student for pages 3, 5, and 7. You will only need to print off one page per two students for pages 4, 6, and 8.
- Next, provide some glue and scissors.
Now it is time to compare decimals.
How to Compare Decimals
As always, before you begin an activity that is more of an assessment, it is essential that children play with decimals first. Here are a few ways to help children visualize decimals so that they can correctly compare them.
Compare with Base Ten Blocks
Base ten blocks are so easy to use, yet pack a powerful punch when it is time to help children compare decimals. The beauty of base ten blocks is that you can change which block equals one, and now it works for decimals.
Normally, a cube equals one, but if you say the flat equals one-tenth, then the long equals one-hundredth, and the cubes equal one-thousandths.
Let’s try it out.
If I’m comparing 0.446 and 0.46 I would want to build each number. We begin by looking at the first digit which is a four in the tenths place. So I’ll get out four flats.
Next, we move to the second digit, a four in the hundredths place. This means I need four longs.
Finally, we make six-thousandths using six cubes.
Now we want to make the .46. We do this by using four flats to show four-tenths, and six longs to show six hundredths.
And now it is easy to see that .46 is larger than .446.
With these base ten blocks in front of me, it is easy to see that 5.2 is greater than 5.02.
Compare Using Decimal Grids
Do you have a child that likes coloring? Then this method is for them.
For this method, you just provide a 10 by 10 grid and have them color it in to represent the decimal.
Let’s use this to compare 0.03 and 0.3.
We begin by coloring in the three out of the hundred squares – three hundredths.
Next, we color in 3 tenths. That is three ten columns (or thirty out of one hundred).
And when that is done, it’s very clear that 0.03 is less than 0.3.
Compare on a Number Line
Finally, we can compare decimals using a number line. I love number lines because so much number sense is used. So let’s use it is compare 0.210 and 0.22
First, we have to figure out what to start and end our number line with. Since we are comparing numbers that both have two tenths, we can start with two-tenths and end with three-tenths.
Now we want to make our increments go up by hundredths.
And finally, we put our two numbers we are comparing on the number line.
Once again it is easy to see that 0.210 is less than 0.22.
If your children need more help representing decimals with any of these methods, these task cards may help.
Compare Decimals Cut and Paste Activity
Once children have a good understanding of comparing decimals, it is time for this simple activity.
All our kiddos need to do is solve each expression and then glue it on the chart under the correct wording.
So 0.03 < 0.3 would be placed in the less than column, while 5.2 > 5.02 would end up in the greater than column.
Enjoy comparing decimals!
Need more review of decimal operations? You might also like this simple set of maze practice pages! This includes practice with decimal addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and rounding.
You’ve Got This,
Rachel is a homeschool mom to four little ones, ages 2 to 6. She is a former public elementary teacher, and has recently begun blogging at her page You’ve Got This. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
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