Decimals - Tenths, Hundredths, and Thousandths

Use the illustrations below to help explain how one whole unit is equal to 10 tenths, to 100 hundredths, and 1,000 thousandths. This understanding will really help when working with decimals and with place values to the right of the decimal point.

Here is one (1) whole unit One whole unit
1 can be split into 10 equal parts 1 whole divivided into tenths
Each part is one tenth of the whole 10 tenths
Each tenth can be split into ten equal parts block representing one tenth > blocks showing ten hundredths > place value blocks showing ten hundredths
There are 100 parts in the whole so each part is called one hundredth place value block representing one hundredth x 100 = block showing 100 hundredths
Each hundredth can be split into ten equal parts block showing 1 hundredth > 10 thousandths > 10 thousandths blocks
There are 1000 parts in the whole so each part is called one thousandth block representing 1 thousandth x 1,000 = place value block showing 1000 thousandths

Decimals, or decimal fractions to give them their full and more proper name, can be written in different forms. Writing and saying decimals in these different forms promotes the important understanding of the underlying place value concepts. These forms are shown below starting with tenths.

Tenths

Assuming the square represents one whole unit, the shaded area represents three tenths.

three tenths shown shaded on a square that has ten equal divisions

This can be written in different forms as shown below.

three tenths shown in standard, expanded, and written forms

More about tenths here

Hundredths

Assuming the square represents one whole unit, the shaded area represents fifteen hundredths.

fifteen hundredths shown shaded on a square that has one hundred equal divisions

This can be written in different forms as shown below.

fifteen hundredths shown in standard, expanded, and written forms

More about hundredths here

Thousandths

Assuming the square represents one whole unit, the shaded area represents three hundred twenty-seven thousandths.

three hundred twenty-five thousandths shown shaded on a square that has one thousand equal divisions

This can be written in different forms as shown below.

three hundred twenty-seven thousandths shown in standard, expanded, and written forms

More about thousandths here

  • Be careful when discussing tenths, hundredths, and thousandths with your children. Pronounce these terms with special emphasis on the “-ths” to help avoid confusion with tens, hundreds, and thousands.
  • It is common to include the word "point" when referring to decimals in every-day use. For example, the world record is "nine point five eight seconds". As your children are developing their understanding of decimal place value, encourage them to use tenths, hundredths, or thousandths e.g. nine and fifty-eight hundredths.

 

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