General Unit Characteristics
The unit was titled fourth grade decimals, specifically on developing a deeper understanding of place values, adding or subtracting decimals, and placing decimals on a number line. The unit which came before this was the fractions unit. Due to MSP testing and needing to cover so much material, the class will continue and finish the fractions unit after completion of the district decimal assessment. Students are pre-assessed through the discussion and analysis on what they remembered about decimals. Many students come with strong background knowledge of decimals because of their extensive third grade work working with money. The goals for the decimal unit are for students to be able to recognize place values in the tenths, hundredths, and thousandths place. In addition, students will be able to compare, add, and subtract decimals. The long-term goal would be students to continue in developing their number sense of recognizing, interpreting, and analyzing decimals. The unit consists of eight lessons which were spread throughout approximately two weeks. The instructional practice that this unit emphasizes is direct instruction, number talks, paired work, and whole-group work. Students are assessed at the end of the unit through the completion of the district assessment which is a district mandated test.
General Lesson Characteristics
The titles of the lessons are as followed:
- Recognizing decimals
- Reading, writing, and saying decimals
- Comparing two decimals
- Reading, writing, and saying decimals from hundreds to hundredths
- Plotting decimals on a number line and rounding to the nearest tenth or whole number
- Plotting whole numbers, mixed numbers, and decimals on a number line
- Compare, order, and round decimals to the tenth, hundredths, and whole
- Add and subtract decimals
The learning targets build upon one another because each subsequent lesson provides necessary skills in order to be successful in the following lessons. Students are developing their skills in working with decimals in order to ultimately be able to add, subtract, compare, round, and plot decimals. The learning targets relate to the central focus because they are vital skills in order to student understanding on the concepts of decimals. For example, lesson focus is placed on comparing decimals. When students are able to accurately compare decimals, they are demonstrating their skills in being able to interpret and analyze decimals which are both essential for the central focus. For lesson 8, the objective was for students to be able to add and subtract decimals. This lesson began with a number talk on a problem ($23 + 10¢ = $33) where students are to address if they agree or disagree with the problem and what went wrong. Through discussion, students were able to come to the conclusion that $23 can be represented as 23.00 and 10¢ as 0.10 and when adding or subtracting decimals you must align the decimal. Therefore the solution is $23.10. The supporting activities and homework continued to affirm the importance for aligning the decimal in order to accurately add and subtract decimal numbers. This demonstrates that the number talk, lesson activities, and the homework are all in alignment with the learning target and will foster student achievement towards these targets. At the end of the lesson, students were given two exit questions (one addition and another subtraction of decimals). Students will be assessed on their ability to align decimals accurately by lining up the decimal and the basic addition and subtraction computational skills. Students must show all this in their work. I will assess and record student exit questions according to their responses.