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Maths

Decimals

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Place value and ordering decimals

We use a decimal point to separate units from parts of a whole (tenths, hundredths, thousandths etc)

  • A tenth is 1/10 of a unit
  • A hundredth is 1/100 of a unit
  • A thousandth is 1/1000 of a unit

In the number 34.27, the value of the figure 2 is a tenth, and the value of the figure 7 is a hundredth.

Ordering decimals

When ordering numbers, we should always compare the digits on the left first.

For example, which is greater: 2.701 or 2.71?

Example

UnitsTenthsHundredthsThousandths
2701
2710

Both numbers have two units and seven tenths, but 2.701 has no hundredths, whereas 2.71 has one hundredth. Therefore, 2.71 is greater than 2.701.

Another way to look at it is to write a zero at the end of 2.71 to make it 2.710 (this does not change its value, because it is after the decimal point).

The two numbers are now 2.710 and 2.701. It is quite easy to see that 2.710 is bigger (just as 2710 is bigger than 2701).

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