Study Guide

Visualizing Decimals

Visualizing Decimals


Decimals can be a less intimidating way of writing fractions. The denominators for all decimals are based on powers of ten (100, 100, 1000, 10,000, etc.).

For example, five tenths can be written as 0.5 or 5/10.

Seventy-eight hundredths can be written as 0.78 or 78/100.

One hundred twenty-five thousandths can be written as 0.125 or 125/1000.

When visualizing what a decimal would look like, instead of breaking an object into thirds or fifths, break it into tenths, hundredths, thousandths, etc.

Here is 1.57, or 1 + 5/10 + 7/100:

Blue Squares

Here is 2.39, or 1 + 3/10 + 9/10:

Blue Square 2.39

We could represent 67/100 (aka 0.67) two ways:

Blue Squares 67/100

Another trick: try visualizing the fraction as money. You could visualize 0.67 as 67 pennies, or 6 dimes and 7 pennies.