## Comparing and Ordering Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals: When Students Ask

**If I know fractions, why do I need to know about decimals?**

Students need to feel comfortable with fractions and decimals and how they relate to each other. A good example can be found at the market. You may have been asked to get a pound and a half of cheese, but the label may show the weight of the cheese as a decimal (1.50) because of the tools used to weigh the cheese and make the labels.**How do I know whether a fraction and a decimal are equivalent?**

Help students to think about denominators. Reading decimals as fractions will be very useful here. When you read and 0.3, they “sound”the same, so you know they're equivalent. For a fraction like , write an equivalent fraction: = . Then = 0.3. For , write an equivalent fraction: = . Then = 0.25.**What is a mixed number and when would I use one?**

A*mixed number*is a number greater than 1 that is between two whole numbers. It is made up of a whole number part and a fraction: 1 is a mixed number.**Why don't you just let us say***point six two five*instead of*six hundred twenty-five thousandths?*

Explain that, while the*point*form accurately describes what a decimal number “looks” like, it doesn't accurately convey its value. Students will be comparing and ordering decimals as well as fractions. Just as they're encouraged to say*six sevenths*instead of*six over seven,*they're encouraged to read a decimal number as a fraction to get the full sense of its value.