Teaching Methods: Rounding Decimals

The level of the students being taught is fifth grade. They are in a position to do addition, subtraction, multiplication and divisions of the decimals. This makes it good and important to apply the simple principles in mathematics in the rounding of decimals. The prerequisite for the students before handling these concepts of rounding off is the ability to round off a whole number. The other thing is the ability to place value on the figures. Decimals have been identified as the other way of expressing the fractions. Fractions can be written in the form of the decimals and need to be expressed well to the nearest required decimal such as the tenth, hundredth among others. The fractions to be conferred to the decimal points need to be divided hence the concept of division is one of the priority as a skill to the students so as to do the rounding of the decimals.

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I will teach the students on the best ways and easiest means for them to execute the concepts of the rounding of decimals to the nearest tenth. The demonstration used to teach the students is of great benefit to them. Writing the particular question on the board which is visible to all the students in the classroom is necessary so as to start the teaching session. The way of calculating and rounding the decimal will be done by indicating that any figure or value after the decimal point is the tenth. There is a need for the students to categorize all the numbers to either ones, tens hundreds, tenth and the hundredths. This is the first number after the decimal point. The students will be taught on how to identify the tenth value. The other main concept is the rounding of the decimals to the nearest tenth. The students will be shown how to round the decimals such as 1.098 which will give us 1.1. This way the students should learn that the second digit from the decimal point is the one which will be considered in the rounding of the decimals to the tenth. If the digit is more than five hence the first digit is added by one as in the example indicated before. If the digit is less than five, say four or three, two and one will not have an effect on the first digit. The digit will remain the same but all other digit after it are ignored. For example 0.8234, the answer is 0.8.

There is use of the discussion in class so as to ensure that the students are in a position to understand all the concepts required in solving such mathematical problems of rounding. Discussions as a learning activity in the classroom will enable the students to share the ideas and what they have understood with respect to the rounding of the decimals to the nearest tenth. The teacher is also involved in assisting the students with any concept which is of difficulty to them. This also is used to check the students’ understanding. There is use of questioning in class. This used by asking the students to respond to what to be done in the process of calculating and rounding of the decimals. This increase the students’ participation and they will be active throughout the lesson. This will involve directing the question to a particular student in turns. Illustrations also are very useful in passing the rounding of decimal concepts. The diagram used should indicate the various decimal points and what is being done at every level so as to make the students internalize all the concepts one by one. The diagram should show all the steps which are to be taken in the rounding of the decimals to the nearest tenth. The students here will be involved in the completion of the steps in their books. The teacher will have to go round to each and every student’s desk to check how they have done them and any wrong move by the students will be handled at individual level with respect to the conceptual errors and the procedural errors.

The students also should be given a task or questions to answer in class so as to check their abilities to handle such questions. This also will be used to check the students’ abilities to avoid all the conceptual and procedural errors. Procedural and conceptual errors are being experienced by the students in the solving of the rounding of the decimals to the nearest tenth. These errors include the rounding of the whole numbers rather than the decimal points in the task. There is also another misconception error which relates to students not rounding up. The students only copy directly the tenth place value in the question. The main errors which were found where the two or more questions were tested were consistent. For example where given 7.59 and 4.43, most of the students answered 7.5 and 4.4 meaning that they have not changed the tenth value. These errors will be eliminated by use of illustrations where the tenth and the value which affects the tenth value are being emphasized.

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