Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Plot That Decimal

Cindy Beckham
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students work in groups to plot a set of number cards containing whole numbers and decimals on a number line.


The student compares and orders fractions and decimals using graphic models, number lines, and symbols.


-Index cards (enough for one or two per student)
-String or yarn ranging 10 to 20 inches in length
-Thumb tacks if using a bulletin board, magnets if using a magnetic chalkboard or dry erase board


1. Prior to this activity, present a lesson on comparing decimal numbers.
2. Create a number line on the chalkboard, dry erase board, or a bulletin board. Have the number line extend from zero to ten.
3. Use index cards to create number cards by writing a whole number or a decimal number on each card with a marker. Use decimals with or without whole parts and ranging from the tenths to hundred-thousandths place. Punch a hole in the top of each card. Tie a piece of string or yarn to each card.
4. To place the stringed cards on the number line, use thumb tacks if the number line is on a bulletin board or use magnets if the number line is on a dry erase board.
5. Create one card for each student that has a decimal number on it and will be used for assessment purposes.


1. Give each group index cards (2 per student) containing either whole numbers or decimal numbers ranging in place value from tenths to hundred-thousandths. Give the cards to the students randomly.

2. Instruct the students to discuss and decide where each card should be located on the number line.

3. Each group takes turns placing their number cards on the number line.

4. Ask different students if they think the cards have been placed correctly. Offer guidance and suggestions.

5. On the board, review place value of decimals and question students that may be having difficulty. Offer feedback.


Give each student a card on which a decimal number has been written. Have that student go to the number line and place his card. Note whether or not he has placed it correctly. Then ask the class if it is correct. If not, allow the student a second chance, but note on a checklist of names that he/she is having problems and may need additional help. An alternative might be that as students are placing their cards for you on the number line, other students are completing the comparing decimals quiz in the associated file.


Students can complete a 15-item quiz (See Associated File) on comparing decimals and arranging decimal numbers in order from least to greatest or greatest to least. Students who do not do well need additional practice and should be allowed a retake of the quiz.

Attached Files

This file contains the Comparing Decimals Quiz.     File Extension: pdf

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