Math Background

Proportions: Tips and Tricks

  • Provide proportional tasks in a wide range of settings, because students' approach to these tasks is influenced by their context. Some familiar contexts might include speeds (miles per hour or feet per second), prices (pounds per dollar or ounces per cent), and in scales (miles per inch or feet per inch).
  • An out-of-class activity that is often very helpful to students has them go to the store with their parents and list the prices for 10 or more products. Students then solve a proportion to find the unit price of each product.
  • Have students bring in the costs of some products from newspapers and have them find the prices for varying amounts. For example, if an ad offers 3 packages for $1.25, have the students find out how much it would cost for 8 packages or for just one.
  • Many science problems involve the use of direct or indirect proportions. For example, the volume of a gas decreases as the pressure of the gas increases, for a constant temperature.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 6