Talking about digits *moving one column to the left* when you multiply by 10 is certainly conceptually better than talking about moving the decimal point, but some pupils seem to find this difficult to grasp. To help out I’ve made this kinaesthetic resource for multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000.

The idea is you laminate all the sheets first then cut out all the numbers on the second sheet. Pupils can place numbers on the template sheet which then tells them which direction to shift the digits and how far depending on what operation they would like to do. Attached is also a worksheet of questions (answers included) that pupils can solve using the number cards and template.

To introduce the main ideas you could use this interactive applet which shows the digits moving columns.

Great idea.

From the set-up, I wonder if the activity is intended to be limited to multiplication & division by 10, 100, & 1000. Assuming so, I propose ending the activity with a few additional questions to small groups:

1) How would you move if you multiplied by 100,000?

2) How would you move if you divided by 0.1?

3) How would you move if you multiplied by 10^0 ?

4) How would you move if you multiplied or divided by any power of 10?

Try this as an even more kinaesthetic approach.

— Write a number with large digits on a board or with separate digits on different pieces of paper on the floor.

— Have the student stand at the proper location of the decimal place. The student should hold chalk (or a marker) & an eraser if using a board, or additional pieces of paper with zeros on them if using paper on the floor.

— A randomly chosen second student would choose a number (10, 100, 1000, (or further if you like)) and a random third pupil would choose to either multiply or divide by that number. The task of the “decimal” student would then be to physically move to the new location of the decimal, adding or removing zeros as necessary.

Many students definitely would benefit from actually moving about the classroom and brain research says the physical kinaesthetics would help many remember the manipulation rules better. Thanks for sharing your activity!

Fantastic points there! Thank you!

its good it has helped my child now she knows how to divide properly am sooooooooo

happy its great thank u

Really pleased you have found it useful! Have a super day

After using the applet my students understood place value better and why digits move and decimals don’t and what happens to digits when they are multiplied or divided by powers of 10.

thanks soo much it really helped

An alternative to cutting out the digits can be to give each students an acetate which they place over the grid and move about instead. I have a powerpoint which animates this. If William could get in contact I can post it here, or I intend on posting it on TES soon.

Sounds fab! Could you please email it to info@greatmathsteachingideas.com

Sent just now…

Sorry for the late reply didn’t realise anyone had replied to my post…