#1 Introduce the Concept
The first thing I do to introduce a concept in Math is to bring out their interactive notebooks/journals! (This serves as a nice reference tool for when they need a model anytime throughout the year) Here is what we did for multiplying decimals. First, we related multiplying decimals to fractions. We looked at the similarities between having only 1/2 of a pie and half of a dollar or .5. We drew a picture of what 3 halves of a pie looked like or .5 x 3. This was a good visual for students needing to know that decimals can become whole numbers! Next, the students glued in a multiplication template so that when they were multiplying, they could keep their columns and rows straight. They recorded the steps to the side of the example. The template for the math journal can be found here.
#2 Real World Application
As my class continued to work on decimals, I thought it would be fun to bring in menus so that students could begin exploring real world applications. I searched for menus online and found a perfect one from Boston Market! (Click on the picture below to download their menu) Students paired up and pretended like they were going on a lunch date. For the students that wanted to work alone, they chose a family member that they would pretend to be going to lunch with.
After handing the students their menu (they were BEYOND excited that this was a real menu by the way!) students decided what they wanted for "lunch" and recorded their choices on the following template I gave them. After adding up how much their meals would cost, we talked about how there is STILL the tax and tip. They were in disbelief that the bill would cost even more! The bigger question? What is TAX??? We discussed how "tax dollars" were used to run our schools, repair our streets, and even pay the President of the United States! Some even made the connection that when they have gone to other countries, the buildings and streets are not as "nice" and was it because they didn't have to pay taxes???? (A whole other lesson!!!!) That brought us to tipping. We just focused on finding 15% of the bill to go to the waiter/waitress that worked so hard to bring their table their food, etc... The kids couldn't wait to tell their parents about this one and to see how much their parents tipped the next time they went out to dinner. Here is what my model looked like!
To get the kids involved even more, the next thing they did was to design their own menus. That way, they could practice these skills using menus that they created. Here are a few pictures of their masterpieces!
To download the template we used, click on the pic below.
How do you teach adding, subtracting, and multiplying decimals in your class?