Dollars to Cents - A Lesson in Decimals

By Susan LoFranco on Apr 24, 2017

A. Student will express fractions with a denominator of 100 as a decimal.  

B. Student will compare quantities represented in decimals in a real world example to hundredths.  

Student will solve real-world problems relating tenths and hundredths to pennies, dollars and fractions of each. 


  • Place Value Mat, Decimal and Fraction Worksheet,  Ninety-Nine Cent Chart and Place Value Cards (which can be printed on stock paper for future use)  
  • All Worksheets attached here:
  • Dollar bills and coins in various denominations (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars) 
  • Markers, stickers, or other math manipulative to aid in counting on the Ninety-Nine Cent Chart. Some schools have cubes (=1), longs (=10), flats (=100).  If the student uses these they could help reinforce what is used in the classroom. 


  • Review place value (using the place value mat) with emphasis on vocabulary - ones, tens, hundreds, decimal point, tenths, hundredths, thousandths. Remind the student that there is a place for every number and a number for every place. Additional vocabulary - numerator and denominator.  Teacher can explain how many pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars are equal to one dollar and how it is written.  
  • With student examine the Ninety-Nine Cent Chart.  Explain how this chart will help to along with the Decimal/Fraction worksheet will help to write numbers in decimal and fraction form along with thinking of the amounts in terms of money.  Tell the student you have 23 cents and have the student fill in 23 boxes of the Ninety-Nine Cent Chart.  
  • With the student discuss how this might be written. Together fill in the Decimal/Fraction Worksheet by going over each column of the place value portion and determining the amount that goes in the "Ones", "Decimal", "Tenths", and "Hundredths" columns (0.23).  Then re-write the number in decimal form (0.23) and in fraction form 23/100.  Make sure to remind the student to always write the "0" before the decimal point to remind us that this is not a whole number but a "fraction" of the number. 
  • Practice this two more times with the amounts 4 cents and 65 cents.  When filling in the 4 cent amount remind the student that he/she needs to place a "0" in the tenths column to hold the place. 
  • Once the student is confident play "Place Value Challenge"  to assess the students ability to remember amounts go in each column.  Print several copies of the Place Value Cards and cut them out.   The student should hold the cards and you read out a number asking the student to place the number in the  "Ones", "Tenths" or "Hundredths" column.  (This activity can be extended to tens, hundreds and thousandths if the student is ready).Using the students choice of media to record answers have the student write the amount in decimal and fraction form.  

Dollars to cents collage


As an extension of the lesson the student could given an amount in words write it in standard in expanded form.  Also given an amount in numbers the student could write it in words. Click here for Writing Numbers worksheet.

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