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ERIC Number: EJ916993
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Making Sense of Decimal Multiplication
Rathouz, Margaret M.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v16 n7 p430-437 Mar 2011
In the elementary grades, students learn procedures to compute the four arithmetic operations on multidigit whole numbers, often by being shown a series of steps and rules. In the middle grades, students are then expected to perform these same procedures, with further twists. The Reasoning and Proof Process Standard suggests that students need to reason about the math that they are learning to make sense of the content. The Representation Process Standard explores the importance of creating and using representations to communicate mathematical ideas and interpret physical and mathematical phenomena. What reasoning and which representations might middle-grades students use to make sense of the procedures for multiplying decimals? Students face several challenges as they transition from whole-number multiplication to decimal fraction multiplication. Teachers should have a deep understanding of the mathematics so that they can better support middle school students' sense making. To build student confidence, the author suggests to relate decimals to whole-number operations, geometry, and measurement. (Contains 7 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A