Comparing Decimals


In our Comparing Decimals lesson plan, students learn how to compare decimals to the thousandth place. Students complete practice problems in which they order numbers with decimals from greatest to least and use symbols such as <, >, and = to compare them.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. Some of the optional additions to the lesson activity are to create additional decimal cards or plan a tournament until there are two players left.

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What our Comparing Decimals lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Comparing Decimals develops number awareness as students compare and order decimals through the thousandths place. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to compare and order decimals through the thousandths place. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, or 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the blue box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. If you’d like to add to the lesson activity, you can create additional decimal cards or plan a tournament until there are two players left. You could also use the cards from the activity for students to place the decimals in order from least to greatest or vice-versa. Finally, you can time the students while they’re ordering the activity decimals, with the winner doing it the fastest and with all in correct order.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Decimal Place Value Review

The Comparing Decimals lesson plan includes two pages of content. We write whole numbers starting with the ones place, then the tens, hundreds, and so on. We also identify and read decimals, are parts of whole numbers, using their place values. One-tenth is the same as a dime, ten out of 100, and 1/10. It’s important to be able to identify the place values beginning to the right of the decimal point.

For example, the number 357.246 is read as three-hundred fifty-seven and two-hundred forty-six thousandths. We can compare all numbers, whole or decimal, to other numbers and place them in order from least to greatest or greatest to least. Placing numbers with decimals in order can be a little trickier than placing whole numbers in order, especially when they have decimals past the hundredth place.

Comparing Decimals

The most common numbers you will come across with decimals involve money. These numbers are easy to compare and put in order because they always have two decimal places representing the cents. The lesson includes several examples comparing money. We usually place money in order to compare the prices of the things we buy.

Decimals with different numbers of decimal places are harder to compare, because it’s more difficult to line them up and can be a little confusing. It might take a few more steps to compare these kinds of numbers.

When comparing numbers of any kind, we always begin at the decimal place. The lesson walks through a few steps that we can use to compare two decimals. Step 1: Compare the whole numbers. No matter how many decimals there are, if one whole number is larger than the other, the decimals don’t matter.

Step 2: Review starting with the decimals if the whole numbers are equal. Start with the tenths. If one is greater than the other, you don’t need to move on to the hundredths.

Step 3: Review the hundredths if the whole numbers and tenths are equal. Move through each decimal place until you find one that’s not the same.

We use these steps when comparing decimals and when putting decimals in order from least to greatest or greatest to least. The more you practice, the faster you’ll be!

Remember that adding zeros to the end of a decimal does not change the value of the decimal. For example, 5.001 equals 5.0010000, but 5.001 does not equal 5.0001. You can use zeros as placeholders, but only following the last decimal place value.


The Comparing Decimals lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


The activity worksheet asks students to play the card game War with a partner using cards with decimals on them, which students will cut out themselves.


For the practice worksheet, students will complete two activities. For the first, they will compare decimals using <, >, or =. For the second, they will order each set of decimals from least to greatest.


The homework assignment asks students to match terms and symbols from the lesson with their descriptions. They will also find eight places a decimal is written and list them from greatest to least. They can look for decimals on food packages, books, magazines, or the internet!

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the activity worksheet, the practice worksheet, and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade



State Educational Standards

LB.Math.Content.4.NF.C.7, LB.Math.Content.5.NBT.A.3.B

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Annette S.

Comparing Decimals

This was a great resource for reteaching.

Michael B.

Top Notch

Very user friendly and simple.

shasmeika m.

great worksheets

this lesson really helped my daughter learn and understand how to compare decimals.