Mission Impossible: Fraction and Decimals

My students, for whatever reason, are having the hardest time converting fractions to decimals and visa versa.  We have gone over the concept.  I have taught them the algorithms.  The kids have had plenty of hands on exposure to it.  However, they just aren't grasping the idea that 3/4 = 0.75 ALWAYS.  Even if it is paired with a whole number.  2 3/4 = 2.75, not 2.34.

So I am at my wits end.  With The TEST looming, I just need them to know the basic conversions.  So I am reverting to plain old memorization.  Yes, you read that right.  Memorization.  So I won't get teacher of the year for it...eh.  It is my mission....the ARE going to know those conversions.

My first plan of attack was to create a foldable of all the most common fraction/decimal/percents conversions they will encounter.

4th grade   blog   Mrs. Moorman
This paper is folded into thirds.  I then had the students cut 5 slits on the top.
teaching in room 6    5th grade  upper grades
When the first flap was opened, the students put all of the equivalent fractions on the top.  Then the equivalent decimal on the next available space.

Finally, the bottom flap (which has been cut into matching 5 slits) opens up to reveal the percent and fractional picture.

These foldables are in the students' math journals.  They have been referencing them a lot.  My hope is that eventually seeing this enough will get the facts in their head.  BUT if that doesn't work, I have games.  Games, games, games, and some more games.

playing a game to memorize fractions and decimals
I already told you about the Go Fish game that the kids are playing (click here to read the post in its entirety).  It is really helping them to get the mathematical formula down.   They get to practice the algorithm for regular fractions to decimals to percents down.  They are having a great time with this one, and it has worked its way into our Math Workshop rotation.

education    math games

For another little fun game, the students are playing Bingo.  They wrote the most common fractions and decimal conversions down.  Then, when I call a number, say 1/3, the students have to find the EQUIVALENT decimal for it.  So on their board, they would actually cover up 0.33, NOT 1/3.  This requires an extra bit of thinking, but the kids are doing it and having a great time!  I see the facts just searing into their brains.  This game is available at my TpT store.  I do have the blank boards for you for free!  Just click here.  Here is it for you!

Mixed numbers are another hurdle for us.  So I created this Fraction and Decimal Memory game.   It is played very similarly to the Greek and Latin Root Memory game, but there are actually mixed numbers thrown in with the regular fractions.  What I really like about this game is that the kids are saying the fractions and decimals aloud, which is an added bonus.  Hearing the equivalencies is really benefiting my auditory learners and making the physical matches is more for my kinesthetic learners.  I also like this game because the kids are helping each other!  Those who are a bit stronger with the memorization are able to help those who aren't quite there yet.  Win-win for everyone.

All of the games are available at my TpT store.

So there you have it.  I am DETERMINED to get these kids to know these fractions, even if that means we have to do a little memorization here and there.  So far, it seems to be working.  Only time will tell though...

What do you do to get your students to master those tough to master tasks?


  1. When possible, I relate to money. 4 quarters, ten dimes, twenty nickels...

    I have a permanent number line in my class. I start out in September with
    just 0,1, and 2 on it. Gradually we add in the fractions, starting with a half, and then the benchmark fractions. When I am ready for mixed numbers and decimals they go in.

    1. Great strategy. Thank you so much for sharing teecher1616!

  2. Great post Stephanie! I feel ya on trying to get those kids to know the conversions!!! I am doing that foldable tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!!!

    One Teacher's Take

  3. Well my third graders are still having trouble with multiplication and we've been doing it since about january. I find it helps to motivate with a chart. I test them each day with a short quiz on whatever times table they need to master. once they answer each problem correctly 3 times in a row, they receive a popcorn kernel. Once everyone gets a kernel for each of the times tables, we're having a popcorn party! Hopefully we'll make it by the end of the year. Most are on 7's and we only go to 9's.


  4. Absolutely LOVE the foldable!!! I love to do foldables with my kiddos!!! I wish I would have seen this a few weeks ago...our test is done, but the learning is not:) Thanks for sharing!!

    4th Grade Frolics

  5. Fractions and decimals is going to be a big part of the 4th grade Common Core, so I'll keep this post in mind. I'm afraid, I'm very very afraid......:)


  6. Nothing wrong with a little memorization, in my opinion. I've been just having my students do the long division if they can't remember another way. Then I try to point out how much more quickly they could have answered the question if they just knew the answer! (But at least they know how to find the answer if they can't remember!) I also relate this concept to money when I can. BTW, maybe you already caught this, but the foldable you have pictured has an error. Should be 12/16, not 12/14. Best wishes with your continued efforts.

  7. It is my favorite topic.I always used to teach this topic in the starting days of my teaching whenever a new session starts.Generally children don't like it but after some time they also learn it with charm.

  8. I would suggest putting the fractions in order on the foldable.

    1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4

  9. I saw this on pinterest ... I can't possibly be the only one who's noticed that 12/14 is not 3/4 ... it should be 12/16 :)

    1. You are quite right. You aren't the only one who noticed the student error. However, hopefully you, as the teacher, got an IDEA that you can use in your room.

  10. I know it's not a good idea, but if I don't have time to convert decimals to fractions I use an online converter like http://decimal2fraction.com I like it because it saves me a lot of time. Thought you might like it. :)

  11. This is a great resource, will be using it tomorrow. Thank you for sharing.

  12. I love this!! Will be using it to add to my students' journals as well as a great review!! Thanks!


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