Rounding of mixed decimals is a significant mathematical concept. This concept as presented in the paper targets students who are in the fifth grade. Students at this level ought to be clearly taught how to round off numbers involving decimals to the nearest tenth as a foundation for the concepts in the upper grades to curb any difficulties in dealing with related concepts in the future.
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Prerequisite concepts and skills learnt before the lesson
One of the required concepts and skills that students should have is the ability to round off whole numbers. The second most fundamental skill is on place value. These concepts will be heavily relied upon in teaching how to round off mixed decimals to the nearest tenth. Students who do not understand these two concepts may have difficulties in understanding this concept.
Concepts and skills in this lesson
This session will provide the idea and proficiency of rounding off decimal numbers to the nearest tenth. Activities and resources that will be used in this activity will be geared towards making it easier for the learner to grasp the concept. A systematic format will be used to ensure that learners understand the basics of the concept in a bid to proceed to its mastery.
How to teach rounding with decimals to the nearest tenth
When teaching students the concept of rounding decimals to the nearest tenth, one has to begin by ensuring that every student understands some basic concepts. The teacher has to probe the students in order to evaluate their understanding of rounding whole numbers and place values.
According to Reys (2012), understanding mathematical concepts should be reinforced through examples and practice. After affirming that they understand these basic concepts, the teacher may proceed to explain that, when one wants to round decimal numbers to the nearest tenth, he or she has to begin by rounding the number that is located immediately after the decimal.
This step is followed by an explanation that the tenths figure is the beginning number on the right hand side of the decimal. It is crucial also for the teacher to give the learners a hint that numbers after the tenths place assume the hundredth and thousandth positions consecutively.
Students are also made aware that, when solving questions on rounding with mixed decimals to the nearest tenths, they have to apply similar procedures like those of rounding whole numbers. The teacher goes on to exemplify to the students that, when the hundredths place value is, say 50 or beyond, the tenth place value will have to increase by one.
Similarly, if the hundredths or thousandths place value is less than 50, the tenths figure remains unchanged. It is crucial to note that, once the rounding off has been done, all other numbers after the tenth place are dropped completely so that the only number appearing after the decimal is the tenths digit. The teacher then goes on to solve a number of examples as students move with him or her.
Students are also allowed to ask questions concerning these concepts. According to Atkinson (1966), individual’s perception of understanding of a task motivates him or her to do it without failure. Allowing students some time to ask makes the concept simpler for them.
The tutor also needs to circulate handouts that show learners how to perform the rounding operation to decimals numbers to the nearest tenth as teaching resources. Finally, the teacher offers some questions for students to solve on the same concept as a way of affirming that they have understood the concept or not.
Description of activities and tasks applied
The activities and tasks that I will use will include giving of examples like solving problems on the textbooks, short evaluation quizzes from past examination papers, and correction of procedural and conceptual errors made by students.
Conceptual and procedural errors, difficult concepts, and their remedy in rounding with mixed decimals to the nearest tenths
Learners do some common mistakes when performing the rounding off exercise. The most common one occurs when students round whole numbers on the left to the nearest tenth in place of the decimal number to the right. The other error occurs when students fail to round up.
In such incidences, students only give their answers as the tenth place value numbers as it were originally on the question. Some problems may be difficult for the students. For example, 6.61 may be erroneously rounded to 7.0 instead of 6.6 following the misconception that that the exercise is the same as when they are handling whole numbers.
Another difficulty is seen when they round 6.51 as 6.6 instead of 6.5 when one is less than 5. However, this challenge can be solved by the use of a number line to realize the place value of the number. Students should also be cautioned against changing the whole numbers.
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Atkinson, J., & Feather, N. (1966). A theory of achievement motivation. New York: Wily and sons.
Reys, R., Lindquist, M., Lambdin, D., & Smith, N. (2012). Helping children learn mathematics Hobokon, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.