# Month: June 2020

## Decimals, Commas, Thousands, and Lakhs

I’ll finish this series on place value and writing numbers, with a question that’s not quite as simple as you might think: why we use commas and decimal points as we do. Americans may be surprised at some of the answers – and some of the questions.

## Decimals in Word Form: Subtleties

Last time we looked at how to convert a number between decimal and word form. Now we’ll move into some tricky cases such as where to use “and” or a hyphen, to eliminate ambiguity. Do I need a “one”? We’ll start with this, from 2001: Written Form of Decimals What is the CORRECT way to …

## Decimals in Word Form: Basics

We’ve been looking at the place value concept, and writing number in expanded form(s); but how about the word form of decimals? This can be confusing at several points. We’ll start with reading a number and writing its word form, and then do the reverse. Reading decimals: the basics We’ll start with this, from 1997: …

## What is Expanded Form?

A concept regularly taught along with place value is “expanded form”, a way to write a number that displays each place separately. As we’ll see, there is considerable variation in terminology here, so parents may have to check what form a teacher wants, rather than look it up and expect a single answer! Whole numbers …

## Should We Put Zero Before a Decimal Point?

(An archive question of the week) Last time we ended with questions about writing (or ignoring) zeros at the end of a decimal. I didn’t have room for one more question, so I’ll put it here. Zeros at the start This question comes from 2000: Zero Before the Decimal Point? A fellow instructional designer and …

## Place Value: Decimals

Last time we looked at the concept of place value as children first learn it, with whole numbers. Here, we’ll expand that to look at decimals. What do we mean by decimal? First, we need to deal with what the word means, because it is used ambiguously. Here is a question from 2004: Defining Decimal …

## Place Value: Whole Numbers

We’ll be looking at various aspects of place value, starting here with the basic concepts. As soon as you learn to write numbers beyond 10, you have to start understanding this concept; so we have to begin at a concrete level and move gradually to something more abstract. Place value for children Our first question …

## How Much Does the Earth Curve?

We’ve looked at how to find the circumference of the earth, and how far we can see over the horizon. Another kind of question we’ve had about the curvature of the earth is, how much does it curve over a given distance? That has been asked in several different ways, which lead to some intriguing …

## How Far Can I See?

We have been looking at questions about the roundness of the earth, starting with the general fact, and then the determination of the size of the earth. A very common question is about how that roundness affects what we can see, sometimes as a challenge (“If I can see this, then how can the earth …