Recently I asked on my Facebook page what teachers favorite thing to teach were and while the answers were as varied as those who responded, I got a lot of questions about why proportions were my FAVORITE thing to teach.
When I began teaching middle school I was reminded of the fun of proportions. I seriously felt that if I could teach proportions for an entire year (and not just one unit) I definitely would do so. I’m serious, they are FUN!
Why do proportions freak students out?
1. They look like (and basically are) equivalent fractions. Fractions are the F word in math and many students (and teachers) fear them. Don’t… if you understand how to multiply/divide you can master equivalent fractions.
2. Proportions have a variable. Algebraic reasoning is scary for some and throwing the alphabet in math is just nuts!
3. Multi-step problems, duh! Student’s wan the easy way out and proportions make you work through multiple steps.
How can we change this mindset?
As teachers, it is our job to help build the mindset of our students in our classroom. When I was introduced to teaching a strategy known as WKU for proportions (Word Ratio, Known Ratio, and Unknown Ratio) it just clicked for so many students. There were, of course, those times that they felt it was silly and I still had them do it but it made sure they didn’t make any mistakes! No longer were they worried about the alphabet but they were solving a puzzle and who doesn’t love a good puzzle!
Another part that I made sure to do when working on proportions was to relate them to real life. We use proportions ALL the time (baking, sewing, planning parties, and so much more) and these are easily things that we can write problems about to help our students learn.
The photo above is just one of many flippables and interactivities in my 7th Grade Ratios and Proportions Interactive Notebook and you can grab it today!
You can also grab the WKU Poster and Flippables by itself!