Erika Isomura describes how her students used calculators to predict and check their thinking about the place value of the denominator amount, thinking about “how do decimals get written and how does that [decimal writing convention] relate to the names?” She saw her students begin thinking about the connection between place value and decimal notation. She next went back to a numerator of 3 to make the students feel more comfortable, but diagnosed that many of her students were still confused. Mia Buljan and Erika describe the important pedagogical role of “forced confusion” to challenge students’ fragile understandings when they don’t yet deeply understand.

5th Grade Math – Decimal Place Value*Erika Isomura, Glassbrook Elementary School, Hayward Unified School District, Hayward, California*

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