I may be jinxing myself but I feel pretty good about my approach to teaching percent this year. Here are 5 things that made me happy…
5. I usually give my students a “Benchmark Fractions/Decimals/Percents Quiz” that I think came from planning with one of my math learning specialist co-teachers years ago. Sometimes I have presented this as a mad minute quiz, seeing how many they can do off the bat. Instead, I just handed it out, one side blank, one side with correct answers and without making a big fuss said, “These are ones you should know better than you know your dog.” (Always greeted with “but I don’t have a dog!”). I asked students to check off the ones where they already felt comfortable and share out which ones they were going to have to work on committing to memory. It was a good conversation. Aforementioned dog is also often tasked with quizzing students. A few classes later when I asked kids to convert 0.66666…. to a fraction, we had already talked so much about % that lots of them just said 66.6/100. The kid who said 2/3 got a dramatic faint and my undying devotion.
4. I find that a frequent misconception with the whole “decimal to percent” thing is when the percent you’re representing actually isn’t an integer percent. During the lesson where we worked on converting between percent and decimal, I spent the most time on these special cases, less than 1%, over 100%, or ugly fractions where they would have to round. We emphasized the % symbol helping us to know if it was the decimal or percent representation.
3. M&M math. Open a bag. Does the % of each color match what the company’s mix is? Always fun. Planned in our unit last year from @PIspeak via@. The focus on this was just writing percents from weird fractions. Refined a little bit this year and it was great. Need to circle back and talk about why their final answers may not have added to 100%. I loved when my students related it back to a population capture/recapture experiment we did.
2. When learning the equation P = % • W, I worked on getting my students to take a textbook question, determine which numbers referred to part, percent, or whole, and then trusted them to solve the equation no matter the missing part. Trusting them to solve the equation, rather than trying to get them to understand a different procedure for finding part, finding percent, or finding whole, was great. Also loved using PearDeck for this lesson and asking multiple choice questions where I gave them a problem like “34 is 25% of what number?” and asked them
Which is the part?
1. My fave: I did a weird version of a Counting Circle at the end of one day. I think it was after M&M math. At the end of the class, I put a bunch of different percents on the board in red, starting with some ones we had talked about — 50%, 25%, 10%, 1%. In blue, I wrote the number that represented our whole. We did our regular circle routine, but this time we were finding the % that we landed on. I mixed it up with some more challenging percents and some more challenging wholes.
This activity created a memory that I could refer back to when showing students the percent equation. We called this our building block method. Once we moved on to doing the computation using the percent equation and multiplying by hand or with a calculator, it really helped my students with deciding if their answers were reasonable.