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Decimals Topic Guide

Decimals are a useful way of representing parts of a whole. The largest part of the whole shown in a decimal is tenths, followed by hundredths, thousandths and so on, getting ten times smaller each time.

In most countries, the system of money is based on decimals. In the UK, this means that pounds are represented as whole numbers and pennies as parts of a pound. This works because there are 100 pennies in a pound (or 100 cents in a dollar or a euro), so 1 penny = 1 hundredth of a pound. When you see an amount of money, for example £1.85, it means 1 whole pound and 85/100 of a pound (i.e. 85p).

Teach your children about decimals using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

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Resources

  • Download our huge Decimals Pack for plenty of resources, including a decimals guide and audio quizzes!

The Decimals Pack

Decimals Facts

  • When we talk about decimals, we usually mean decimal fractions. Our number system is also known as decimal because it is based on 10s.
  • Digits to the left of the decimal point represent whole numbers (integers), while digits to the right represent parts of numbers. For example 1.5 equals 1 whole and 5 tenths, or 11/2.
  • When there is no whole number, 0 is usually used as a place holder, as in 0.25 (a quarter).
  • Although they were written differently, decimal fractions are believed have been used in China during the fourth century BCE.
  • The system we now use for writing decimals was developed during the 17th century by Simon Stevin, a Belgian mathematician.

Videos

What is a Decimal?

This short video gives a brief overview of decimals, especially their relationship to fractions.

Running time: 3:58

Decimal Point Video for Kids

This video is perfect for teaching children how to read decimals correctly.

Running time: 2:24

Converting fractions, decimals and percentages

This lively Decimal Dance Off is a great way to introduce the concept of converting fractions, decimals and percentages.

Running time: 3:52

Books

Lift-the-Flap Fractions and Decimals

An engaging introduction to fractions and decimals, with fun activities.

Fractions & Decimals Bumper Book

Engaging fractions and decimals activities to help boost your child’s progress at every stage of their learning!

10-Minute Tests: Fractions, Decimals & Percentages

A collection of quick-fire Maths questions for ages 9-10.

Fractions, Decimals, and Percents

An engaging introduction to fractions and decimals, with fun activities.

10 Minutes a Day Decimals

Master decimals in just 10 minutes a day with the activities in this home-study workbook.

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