A decimal is another way to write a fraction. You can think of a decimal as a part of a whole number. It is less than 1 whole thing, but more than 0.
You may not realize it, but you see decimals a lot in real life. One of the most common examples is money.
Do you recognize these coins? We have a quarter, a dime, and two pennies. You could write each of these as a decimal. That's because each coin is worth less than a whole dollar.
Click through the slideshow to learn how decimals work.
This is a dollar. A dollar represents a whole number. It is equal to 1.
We could also write that as 1.00. In other words, 1 = 1.00.
1.00 is a decimal. Here, it means we have 1 dollar and 0 cents.
As you may already know, there are 100 pennies in a dollar. This means 100 pennies equals 1.00.
One penny is part of a dollar. More specifically, it's 1 cent. We could also write that as a decimal: 0.01.
Let's look at a few more decimals. 9 cents is 0.09 of a dollar.
A quarter, or 25 cents, is 0.25 of a dollar. Any time you have part of a whole, you can write it as a decimal.
Let's look at another example. This pitcher holds 1 liter of water. Right now it's full.
We could write this as a decimal: 1.00 liters.
The pitcher is split into 10 parts. This means each part is equal to 0.10 liters.
As the day goes on, the pitcher gets emptier. Now it has 0.70 liters. That's because we used up 0.30 liters.
Now it has 0.50 liters, or half a liter.
Now it has 0.20 liters. Even though we have less than one liter, we have more than zero liters, so we can write it as a decimal.