Decimals and Money

Teaching the decimal system to elementary children might seem like a daunting task on the surface but there is a simple solution right in your wallet or purse…money! Because both the decimal system and American currency are both rooted on a base 10 system and children are introduced to money at an early age, it makes learning the decimal system an easier task to teach. Here is a fun way to teach decimals to elementary school students. Set up a classroom market or store.

Set aside a corner of the classroom as the store and rotate which children will be in charge. The teacher can use fake plastic money (recommended) or actual pennies, nickels and dimes (it is recommended that no higher real money denominations be used) and use this store to buy and sell actual items (such as pencils) for classroom rewards. Children can ‘earn’ various denominations as classroom tokens then trade them in at the market.

The market concept is not new to elementary schools and there are many classrooms where empty food containers such as cereal boxes and plastic bottles are brought from home and set up as a mini market. The reward system that they teachers set up is what makes this concept work with children. By rotating the various duties among the students, children quickly learn how to convert fractions (such as ¼ using a 25 cent piece) into easily translated decimal equivalents
An entire lesson can be developed around the decimal equivalents using the monies of the class market. Children can have ‘shopping’ days where they visit the store and must purchase items by translating a fraction worksheet into decimals (or vice versa) then applying the new ‘shopping list’ to their in class marketing. At his age it is imperative that the children receive both verbal and tactile input when dealing with the decimals representations.

Decimal Bingo

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