Decimal word problems are an important part of 5th grade math. With more complex operations in store for them in the grades ahead, students must be able to solve decimal problems with confidence.
Consider all of the ways decimals play a part in your everyday life. For example, anytime you get change for buying something, you are using decimals. Therefore, 5th grade word problems should incorporate these concepts and challenge your children. Here are four decimal word problems that can be easily amended with other numbers for more variety. They may indeed stump your kids!
1. Zeroing in on the Zeroes
Some decimals include the zero before the point; others don’t. Some might add extra zeroes at the end—5.24000 being the same as 5.24. Fifth graders should be ready for all these instances, as addressed in this word problem:
Michael, Ben, and Kelly are chewing bubble gum. Michael blows a bubble that is 1.340 inches in diameter. Ben’s bubble is .87 inches in diameter. Kelly has a tough time with her bubble, which is only 0.09 inches wide. What is the total diameter of the three bubbles?
To get the answer, add 1.34+0.87+0.09 to get 2.3.
2. Fractions and Decimals
Decimals are simply fractions without obvious numerators or denominators, and fractions are simply decimals that don’t necessarily use base 10. Here’s a 5th grade word problem that combines the two:
A barbell that weighs 45.25 pounds is holding 2 plates that weigh 2.2 pounds each and 4 plates that weigh 7½ pounds each. How much weight will Connor be lifting?
To find the answer, students must realize that 7½ is the same as 7.5. Add 45.25, plus (2.2 x 2), plus (7.5 x 4) to get 79.65 pounds.
3. Sales Tax
Kids eager to use a $20 bill to buy something costing $19.95 often forget about sales tax. This word problem will help them remember:
Allison has $5 and wants to buy a pack of Pokemon cards that cost $4.49. The sales tax is 7 percent; will she have enough money to buy the cards?
Students will need to multiply $4.49 by 0.07 and then add the result to $4.49 to get the answer. The rounded answer is $4.80, so yes, Allison can buy the cards.
4. Multiplication, then Subtraction
Here’s another example of multiple operations involving decimals combined into one 5th grade word problem. Assume that your town has no sales tax on food …
Organic cantaloupes cost $3.99 per melon, and non-organic cantaloupes cost $2.45 each. If you bought five organic melons, how much more would they cost than five regular ones?
The first thing to do is multiply $3.99 by 5 to get $19.95. Then, compute that five non-organic cantaloupes will cost $12.45. From there simply subtract the lower number from the higher to get the answer of $7.70.
Do your kids struggle with decimal word problems?