Decimal Place Value

Contributor: Elephango Editors. Lesson ID: 10930

What's the difference between $1.00 and $10.00? Plenty, depending on where the decimal point is! A clever video review of place value, and lots of fun online games teach you about decimal place value!


Fractions and Operations, Integers/Rational Numbers and Operations

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


On the way to the store, you and your dad stop at the gas station to put fuel in your car. While your dad is pumping gas, you notice these numbers on the pump:

11.35 and 4.506

  • What do they mean?
  • What do you notice about the numbers?
  • What do they have in common and what differences do they have?

You may have noticed that both numbers have decimal points!

Both numbers have 4 digits, but the decimal point is in different spots.

You probably also noticed 11.35 represents the price of the gas, and 4.506 represents the gallons of gas.

  • But what does all this information mean?

Well, let's start with the decimal point. A decimal point separates the whole number and the fractional part of a number.

When saying decimals out loud, you say "and" for the decimal point because it represents the combining of a whole number and a fractional part.

A decimal, like 0.1, is equal to 1/10 and represents one-tenth of the whole number 1.

A decimal and a fraction are similar in that they both represent part of a whole.

place value chart

Let's look at the first number on the gas pump:


You notice the whole number, 11. The number 11 is made up of 1 ten and 1 one. In a place value chart it looks like this:

place value chart

Next, there is a decimal point. Remember, this symbolizes the combination of a whole number followed by a fractional part.

place value chart

The fractional part in this number is .35. This can be also written as the fraction:



Think of this in pennies. The gas costs $11.35 or 11 whole dollars and 35 pennies.

one hundred pennies makes one dollar

A penny is a part of a whole dollar. It takes 100 pennies to make a whole dollar. So 35 pennies is also 35/100 of a dollar.

Let's put the fractional part of this number into the place value chart:

place value chart

Now, let's look at the next number on the gas pump:


There is a whole number of 4 and a fractional part of 506/1000:

place value chart

You used 4 whole gallons of gas and 506/1000 gallons of gas.

As you move further right on a place value chart, the value of the numbers gets smaller.

For example, 0.1 is greater than 0.001 just like 1/10 is greater than 1/1000.

To learn more about decimal place value, watch Decimal Place Value Song | Tenths and Hundredths | 5th Grade from Math Songs by NUMBEROCK:

  • Feel ready to practice decimal place value?

Click NEXT to visit the Got It? section to try out your new skills!

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.