The purpose of this study was to analyze the connection between students' errors and prior knowledge as an attempt to design an efficient teaching method in decimal computation. A survey on decimal computations was conducted in two 6th grade elementary school classrooms. Error patterns on decimal computations were analyzed and clinical interviews were conducted with 8 students according to their error patterns. Main errors resulted from the insufficient understanding of prior knowledge such as place value, connection between decimals and fractions, meaning of operations, and computation principles of fractions. In order to help students overcome such obstacles, a teaching experiment was designed in a manner that strengthens a profound understanding of prior knowledge related to decimal computations, and connects such knowledge to actual decimal calculations. This study showed that well-designed lesson plans with base-ten blocks might decrease students' errors by helping them understand decimals and connect their prior knowledge to decimal operations.
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