Monday, September 8, 2014

Math Monday: Going to the Bank

  •      Which is larger 4.3  or 4.03?
  •     Can you place these three in order from least to greatest?
    •  2.5 ;   2.05  ;  2.39
  • How many hundredths are in 3.09?

Introducing the first topic on decimals and asking a few inquiry statements like the ones above, I noticed glazed eyes as they stared at the anchor chart.  Luckily for me I had seen this look several times when I introduced reading, writing and applying decimals.  I asked my students if they wanted to go shopping and they responded yes. The bank was now open however their budget was limited to any amount below $5.00 and they had to have 4 coins and only 2 could be the same.

After each student went to the bank, they set up a T chart and drew a picture of their money.  Next they traded their money in for place value cubes. This was a challenge for them because they added their coins and got the place value cubes.  I challenged them to put the place value cubes on top of the money which showed them the connection of money to place value. Several students realized they had to trade in certain PV cubes to make this work. Once they figured this step out they finished the second part of their T chart with PV cubes showing their money.

We ended the class with circling back around to my first three questions all of a sudden lightbulbs went off and their thinking flowed much easily.  The connections with money helped them to see the importance about the placement of zero.  Allowing my students to use money to connect to the real world helped them in understanding place value with decimals.


  1. Thanks for joining #mathmon and helping spread the word. Money is the best tool for showing a purpose for decimals. Purpose is key in almost all of our learning. my favorite line is, "all of a sudden lightbulbs went off".

  2. Brilliant. Wish I would have read this post before I started my decimal unit! Am bookmarking for next year!!