How to use manipulatives to teach ratios

Written by sheba raj
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Math teachers have the challenging job of taking abstract concepts, such as ratios, and simplifying the ideas so that a student can understand and be able to apply it to his life. The best way to teach ratios so that students can understand the concepts is by including a manipulative or tangible object in the lesson plan. A practical fifth grade math lesson on ratios can be taught using M&M's.

Skill level:
Moderate

• M&M bags
• Paper
• Pencil

Instructions

1. 1

Teach the students that a ratio is a comparison of two things and that there are three ways to write ratios: as a fraction, with the word "to" and with a colon.

2. 2

Hold up the bag of M&M's and tell the students that you know exactly how many M&M's there are, plus the amount of green, blue, red, etc.

3. 3

Write down the name of each colour moving vertically down the board, and the amount next to it. So for green, you would write green = 12 and underneath that you would write blue = 10. Make sure to line up each set of words and numbers, one above the other so that the students can view it clearly.

4. 4

Compare two colours to one another making a ratio. If you compare the number of blue M&M's (10) to the number of green M&M's (12), you get 10/12 or 10 to 12 or 10:12.

5. 5

Give every two students a bag of M&M's and paper. Tell the students to count each colour separately, and make a list of the colours and numbers, just as you did on the board.

6. 6

Tell the students to number the papers 1-5 and pick four colours and write ratios. Each ratio should be written down three different ways.

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