Percent of a Number

I forgot my flash drive at home, so I can’t attach any of these files, but if you are interested, just let me know!

Yesterday and today we worked on finding the percent of a number.  Our textbook shows two different methods- using proportions and writing sentences.  I think the writing sentences method is much much easier for the kids to understand.

So I started with a half sheet of paper.  On the paper were the only words students would see in these sentences.  After the words, I had the students write in the translation.  We talked about how in Spanish class they translate English into Spanish so today we are going to translate English into math.

What (or what number)-  X

Percent- %

Of- *

Is- =

Then I gave them this worksheet to glue in on the next page:


We translated the first few together.  So “What percent of 84 is 21?” became “X% * 84 = 21”.  We talked a lot about how you simply go word by word and translate each word into the math sentence.  Then we can solve the multiplication equation.

I felt like this part went really well.  Even the students who typically struggle with math really got it and they understood the process.

Then I gave students a list of 5 sentences that all had the percent given but the original number was missing, so “10% of a number is 80”.  Without translating into math or solving the problems, students were asked to put these 5 sentences in order from least to greatest answer.  Then students wrote about why they put the problems in this order.  This was a major struggle for them, but I think that is good.  They just have no experience writing about math and writing about their thinking.  I plan to do a lot more practice with them on this!  After writing, I put them into groups of 3-4 and had them compare and discuss their answers.  I thought this was really valuable as well.  So many kids had drastically different answers because they really didn’t understand how to put the numbers in order in the first place.  (Which I saw and anticipated from the beginning and I was ok with this because it would provide much more discussion when they disagreed.)

Overall, I loved what we did with this lesson and what the kids took out of it!

EDIT: Here are the files that I didn’t upload earlier!

Percent of a Number Note Page

Percent of a Number Performance Task

Percent of a Number Activity


7 thoughts on “Percent of a Number

  1. Hi.. I really love it too, especially the putting in order and writing about it. When we do the ‘math sentences’ I call it ‘direct translation’ vs the ‘is over of = % over 100’ proportion, which the kids still seem to like a lot. It seems like the kids who enjoy math more really like the direct translation. Anyhow, would love a copy at Thank you!

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