How to Teach Children Percentages

Written by susan rickey Google
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How to Teach Children Percentages
High-interest items will pique the interest of your students. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Use real-world experiences to motivate children to understand percentages. Giving students play money and engaging items to 'play' buy in the classroom will inspire them to learn how to find the per cent of a number. Students learning to calculate percentages have an understanding that percentages, along with fractions and decimals, represent a part of the whole. Children experience taking a percentage off of a price to represent a sale price and adding a percentage of the total to represent sales tax in this real-world exercise to teach about percentages.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Catalogues
  • Play money

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  1. 1

    Finding the equivalent fraction for a per cent aids the students' awareness about percents. Teach the students 50% means 50 out of 100. A per cent can be written as a fraction. The denominator is always 100, and the numerator is the numeral written as the per cent. In this case, 50% written as a fraction is 50/100. Hand out cards with percents listed on a card and its equivalent fraction written on another card. Make enough sets so every class member has a card. Permit the students to leave their desks to find a classmate with a matching card. The person with the matching card is their partner for the math class today.

  2. 2

    Hand out catalogues that have high-interest items for students - camping, fashion, electronics and books. Hand them an envelope with play money in it. The amount of money in each envelope is a different amount. Tell them they have been sent money for their birthday to spend as they wish. Give the students time to look through the catalogues and time to trade catalogues.

  3. 3

    Hand out slips of paper with a percentage off the sale price listed on it. Each percentage is different. The students total their sales price and take the prescribed percentage off. To complete this step, they change the per cent to a decimal by dividing the numeral that is a per cent by 100. Then they multiply the decimal by the whole number. For instance, if the total purchase is £120.20 and the discount is 25% off, the equation to find 25% of 185 can be written like this (25 /100) x 185 = 46.25. The last step in this application is subtracting the percentage off from the total price, £120.20 - £30.0 = £90.1.

  4. 4

    Find the sales tax for your state. The students find the percentage of sales tax to be added to the discounted price. They follow the same procedure as above - change the percentage to a decimal by dividing by 100 and multiply that number by the discount sale price. The last step changes. Sales tax needs to be added to the new total. Now that the students have their new totals, determine if they have enough money. If they don't have enough play money, they will have to pare down their selection or make another selection from the catalogues.

    How to Teach Children Percentages
    Pretending to buy a pink portable music player makes math enjoyable. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    Filling out the teacher-generated order form with the cost of items, percentages off calculated, sales tax added and final total calculated is the last step in this activity. Check the students' work for accuracy.

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