What Are Equivalent Decimals? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:05 Definition of…
  • 1:26 When Are Two Decimals…
  • 2:27 Example of Equivalent Decimals
  • 2:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Osborn
Equivalent decimals may look different, but in reality they are just a fancy way of naming the same amount! In this lesson, you will explore equivalent decimals and learn easy tricks to help you master the tools needed to identify and write these equal forms.

Definition of Equivalent Decimals

Decimals…sometimes, they can be a little confusing. How can we tell if two decimals are equivalent, even if they appear differently on the page? How can the lowly zero aid in the detection of equivalent decimals? Well, if you stick with me, you'll have found the answers to these questions and mastered equivalent decimals by the end of this lesson!

What if I told you that equivalent decimals may look different, but in reality, they are the exact same amount? That doesn't sound too scary, right? In more academic language, equivalent decimals are decimals that name the same value.

Let's look at the decimals of 0.3 and 0.30, or three tenths and thirty hundredths (don't forget your place values!). You might not believe me yet, but I'm going to prove to you that these two decimals are equal, or equivalent.

Using base ten charts, I have colored in 0.3 (three tenths) and 0.30 (thirty hundredths) here (see video). Now look at what happens when you put these two charts on top of each other. They cover the exact same amount!

Base ten charts of 0.3 and 0.30

When we look back at our definition of equivalent decimals, it says that two decimals are equivalent when they name the same value (or same amount). By showing that 0.3 and 0.30 cover the same space, we have just proven that these two decimals are, in fact, equivalent!

When Are Two Decimals Equivalent?

Here is an easy trick that you can use to decide if two decimals are equivalent. You can take any decimal and create equivalent forms by simply adding zeros to the right of it. It's that simple!

Say you have the decimal 0.5. You can make an equivalent decimal by adding a zero to the right, like this:


It doesn't matter how many zeros you add to the right of the number, it will always be an equivalent form!

This means that:

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