Multiplying Decimals by Decimals
This is a complete lesson with instruction & exercises for 5th grade about multiplying decimals by decimals. The interpretation for multiplying a decimal by a decimal is to think of it as taking a fractional part of a decimal number (the symbol × translates to "of"). The lesson compares multiplication by a decimal to scaling & shrinking a stick. Lastly, it shows the common shortcut to decimal multiplication (multiply as if there were no decimal points; the answer has as many decimals as the factors have in total.)
In the video below, I explain the rule for multiplying decimals (put as many decimal digits in the answer as there are in the factors.) I explain where this rule comes from, using fraction multiplication. The lesson continues below the video.
You have learned to think of multiplication by a whole number,
such as 3 × 4 or 8 × 0.6, as repeated Example. 0.1 × 80 means finding onetenth “of” 80. That is simply 8. Example. 0.4 × 80 means finding fourtenths “of” 80. Since onetenth of 80 is 8, then 0.4 of 80 is four times as much, or 32. Example. 0.02 × 3,000 means finding twohundredths of 3,000. Since onehundredth of 3,000 is 30, then 0.02 of 3,000 is two times as much, or 60. 
1. Write as a multiplication using a decimal, and
solve. Remember, "of" translates into "×". Use the
top problem in each box to help you solve the bottom one.
a. onetenth of 50 _______ × ______ = _______ b. threetenths of 50 _______ × ______ = _______ 
c. onetenth of 700 ______ × _______ = _______ d. fourtenths of 700 ______ × _______ = _______ 
e. onehundredth of 4,000 _______ × _______ = _______ f. sixhundredths of 4,000 _______ × _______ = _______ 
2. Solve. Use the top problem in each box to help you solve the bottom one.
a. Find 0.1 × 30 ________ Find 0.4 × 30 ________ 
b. Find 0.1 × 400 _________ Find 0.6 × 400 _________ 
c. Find 0.01 × 600 _________ Find 0.07 × 600 _________ 
d. Find 0.1 × 520 ________ Find 0.3 × 520 ________ 
e. Find 0.001 × 5,000 _________ Find 0.002 × 5,000 _________ 
f. Find 0.01 × 800 _________ Find 0.11 × 800 _________ 
3. Answer. You do not have to calculate.
a. You have learned that 0.1 ×
246 means onetenth of
246.
Will the result of 0.1 × 246 be more or less than
246?
b. Also, 0.1 × 0.8 means onetenth of
0.8.
Will the result of 0.1 × 0.8 be more or less than 0.8?
c. Will the result of 1.9 × 928 be more or less than 928?
Scaling means expanding or shrinking something by some factor. 

This red stick
is 40 pixels
long. → We can write a multiplication "equation": 4 × = Using pixels, 4 × 40 px = 160 px. 
Now let’s scale the red stick to be → Notice, it shrank! We can write: 0.4 × = In pixels, 0.4 × 40 px = 16 px. 
The number we multiply by (4 and 0.4 above) is called the scaling factor. If the scaling factor is more than 1, such as
2.3, the
resulting stick is longer than the original one. 
4. The stick is being shrunk. How long will it be in pixels? Compare the problems.
a. 0.1 × = 0.1 × 40 px = ________ px 
b. 0.3 × = 0.3 × 40 px = ________ px 
c. 0.6 × = 0.6 × 40 px = ________ px 
d. 0.2 × = 0.2 × 40 px = ________ px 
e. 0.5 × = 0.5 × 40 px = ________ px 
f. 0.9 × = 0.9 × 40 px = ________ px 
Let’s expand this stick (40 px) to be 1.2 times as long: → We can write a multiplication: 1.2 × = To calculate how long
it is in pixels, let’s first figure out what 0.2 of 40 is. 
5. The red stick is 50 pixels long. It is being expanded or shrunk. Fill in the blanks.
a. 0.5 × = 0.5 × 50 px = ________ px 
b. 0.3 × = 0.3 × 50 px = ________ px 
c. 1.5 × = 1.5 × 50 px = ________ px 
d. 1.3 × = 1.3 × 50 px = ________ px 
6. Tell if the resulting stick after being "multiplied" will be shorter or longer than the original.
a. 3.1 ×
will be longer/shorter than
b. 0.3 × will be longer/shorter than 
c. 0.9 ×
will be longer/shorter than d. 1.2 × will be longer/shorter than 
Towards a shortcut Half of 5 is 2.5, or 0.5 × 5 = 2.5. This resembles the familiar multiplication 5 × 5 = 25! Onetenth of 20 is 2, so threetenths of
20 is 6. We can write 0.3 ×
20 = 6. 

But where will we put the decimal point? Let’s explore that a little bit! 
7. Fill in Anita’s reasoning.
a. To calculate 0.8 × 0.8, I first
multiply 8 × 8 = 64. The answer to 0.8 × 0.8 has to be
slightly 
b. 0.1 × 5.6 has to be 1/10 of the size of 5.6. So, it cannot be 56. Could it be 5.6? No, because 
c. 0.4 × 0.06 has to be smaller than 0.06. It can be neither 24, nor 2.4. Is it 0.24 or 0.024? ________ 


Example 1. 0.05 × 0.7 5 × 7 is 35. The factor 0.05
has two and 
Example 2. 12 × 2 × 0.3 × 0.2 12 × 2 × 3 × 2 = 144. The factors have 0,
0, 1, 
8. Multiply first as if there were NO decimal points. Then add the decimal point to the answer.
a. 0.5 × 0.3 = ________ b. 0.9 × 0.6 = ________ 
c. 0.4 × 0.08 = ________ d. 0.7 × 0.02 = ________ 
e. 0.1 × 0.3 = ________ f. 0.1 × 2.7 = ________ 
g. 0.2 × 0.1 = ________ h. 0.8 × 0.1 = ________ 
i. 0.9 × 0.01 = ________ j. 0.9 × 0.1 = ________ 
k. 0.7 × 0.3 = ________ l. 7 × 0.03 = ________ 
9. Multiply.
a. 0.4 × 0.8 = ________ b. 0.7 × 1.1 = ________ c. 0.02 × 0.9 = ________ 
d. 0.02 × 0.5 = ________ e. 0.002 × 9 = ________ f. 1.1 × 0.3 = ________ 
g. 2.1 × 0.2 × 0.5 = _________ h. 0.4 × 4 × 0.2 = _________ i. 6 × 0.06 × 0.2 = _________ 
The answer to a decimal multiplication may end in one or more zeros. That is no problem. However, after placing the decimal point, you may simplify the final answer by dropping the ending decimal zeros.  
50 × 0.006 50 × 6 = 300. The factors have 0 and
3
decimal 
400 × 0.05 400 × 5 = 2000. The factors have 0
and 2
decimal 
10. Solve.
a. 0.4 × 0.5 = _______ b. 20 × 0.06 = _______ c. 40 × 0.05 = _______ 
d. 3 × 0.2 × 0.5 = _______ e. 300 × 0.009 = ________ f. 40 × 0.05 = __________ 
g. 0.6 × 0.2 × 0.5 = ________ h. 600 × 0.004 = __________ i. 0.4 × 0.5 × 60 = ________ 
Potatoes cost $1.20 / kg. If you buy 23 kilograms, you multiply
23 × $1.20 to find the total price. If you buy 0.8 kg, you do the same: multiply the price by 0.8. To find 0.8 ×
$1.20, first multiply without the decimal point: 8 × 120 = 960. The
factors have Note that the answer also makes sense: 0.8
kg of potatoes should cost a bit less than 1 kg of 
11. Find the total cost. Write a multiplication.
a. Ribbon costs $1.10 per meter, and you buy 0.4 meters.
b. Nuts cost $8 per pound. You buy 0.3 pounds.
c. A phone call costs $7 per hour. You talk for 1.2 hours.
d. Lace costs $2.20 per meter, and you buy 1.5 meters.
You can make worksheets for decimal multiplication here.
This lesson is taken from my book Math Mammoth Decimals 2. It addresses the Common Core Standard for 5th grade 5.NBT.7.
Math Mammoth Decimals 2
A selfteaching worktext for 5th6th grade that covers the four operations with decimals up to three decimal digits, concentrating on decimal multiplication and division. The book also covers place value, comparing, rounding, addition and subtraction of decimals. There are a lot of mental math problems.
Download ($6.25). Also available as a printed copy.