Activities to Teach Students to Multiply Two Decimals: Where Does the Decimal Point Go?

Multiplying decimals is an essential math skill that students must understand. Nonetheless, many students are afraid of learning decimal multiplication, as it seems complicated and confusing. The essential area to cover when teaching students to multiply two decimal numbers is where to place the decimal point. Once students understand this fundamental concept, they can confidently solve any multiplication problem involving decimals. In this article, we will share some activities to teach students to multiply two decimals and where to place the decimal point.

1. Teach Place Value

Before students can solve decimal multiplication problems, they need to have a good grasp of place value. Students should understand that each digit in a decimal number has a specific value based on its position. For example, the digit in the tenths place is worth one-tenth of the whole number. Reinforcing the understanding of place value will help students in knowing how to multiply decimals correctly.

2. Use Real-life Examples

Show students how decimals relate to real life, such as money, measurements, and recipes. Teaching students how to calculate the total cost of items with decimals or measure the length in meters, inches, or feet using decimals will help them understand why they need to master decimal multiplication skills.

3. Use Manipulatives

Using manipulatives, such as base ten blocks or fraction bars, can help students visualize decimal multiplication. Encourage students to represent decimals with manipulatives and model the multiplication process visually.

4. Use Grids

Using grids is an effective way of teaching students to multiply decimals. Draw a grid and partition it into columns and rows. Teach students to multiply the decimals by each digit in the other factor, starting from the right column. Then, instruct them to place the decimal point in the answer by counting the total number of decimal places in the factors.

5. Play Games

Games are a fun and interactive way to teach decimal multiplication to students. Play fun games like Decimal War, where students shuffle a deck of cards with decimals and play war with their classmates. The player with the highest product wins.

In conclusion, teaching students to multiply two decimals and where to place the decimal point may seem challenging at first. However, by using a combination of different strategies, such as teaching place value, using manipulatives, grid method, and playing games, students will learn to master this skill with ease. Encourage your students to practice, practice, and practice some more until they become comfortable with decimal multiplication.

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