Getting started with ratios!
We pretested ratios, rates, and proportions last week, and I found mixed results in the item analysis. I was surprised to find that very few students were able to write a ratio (the pretest question was: there are 2 hamsters and 1 gerbil  write a ratio of gerbils to hamsters). It wasn't that they wrote the ratio as hamsters to gerbils rather than gerbils to hamsters....they either left it blank, or wrote something that did not resemble a ratio. So, I was glad that I had prepared a couple of Fold it Ups for them to use this week! I think this is the first time I've used this version of Fold it Up (with the triangles folded in) this year, and a few students commented that they like this version better than others (like the one I made for Wed...bummer), because this type won't rip as easily. This one is quick and easy to use  students just cut out the square that makes up the fold it up, and then they fold each triangular section into the center, so the words are showing. (I did have students who folded the words to the inside of the fold it up, so they couldn't see the words...watch for that:). Then they just need to add the notes under the appropriate flaps, and they're done! You can click the image on the left, below, to go to TPT and download the fold it up (free). Do you have a favorite notetaking method for ratios and rates? I'd love to hear!
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Ratios and Proportions Activity for the Middle School
Math Classroom
Food can make ratios and proportions more fun during a middle school math class, right? "Something Fishy" is a great handson activity to help students understand a reallife application of ratios and proportions. It also gives them the chance to munch on a few Goldfish :) This is a lesson I found through the Mathline Middle School Math Project, sponsored by PBS (I mentioned this program in the "Remove One" post).
This ratios and proportions lesson presents the students with an environmental problem: "scientists have determined that the number of fish in the Chesapeake Bay has decreased. Assuming this is true, scientists must have counted the number of fish and noted the change. How did they count the fish?" After introducing the problem, the students brainstorm ways that the scientists could count the fish. I have four math classes, and in each class, there was a student who said that scientists could tag the fish. So we discussed how tagging the fish would work, and talked about the capturerecapture method. Using a sample ratio, we talked about how we could create a proportion to figure out an estimate of the population. For this lesson, we used: * regular Goldfish crackers * pretzel Goldfish crackers * 2 paper bowls per group (any container that they can scoop from will work...we used the 2nd bowl to put the "captured" fish into) * a spoon to scoop with I didn't count the number of fish that I gave each group...I simply poured fish into the bowl...but they all ended up having 7090 fish.
I demonstrated all of the following steps for the students, so they understood what to do, and then I gave them a RECORDING SHEET (found below) that also included the directions.
Student steps for the lesson: 1. Students "capture" a sample of regular goldfish from the container. This sample should be tagged by replacing them with pretzel goldfish, and the "captured" goldfish should be set aside and no longer counted in the population. 2. Students put the tagged fish back into the container and mix up the fish so that the tagged fish are evenly distributed. Move on to the recapturing: 3. Capture a new sample and record both the total number of fish in the sample and the number of tagged fish in the sample. Return all fish to the container. 4. Recapture 6 times (or whatever you have time for...we were able to do 6 times, and we have a 40min math period). 5. Guide the students to create and solve the proportion for their "bay."
6. Have students count their fish and then compare their estimated total with the actual number of fish. Some of my groups got fairly close...I believe the closest was an estimate of 68 and an actual count of 74. It seemed that the groups with larger sample sizes ended up with closer estimates than those with smaller sample sizes, though I didn't analyze those relationships too carefully yet!
7. Allow students to eat the goldfish (if they don't have allergies)! To see the PBS Mathline lesson, click HERE. What ratio and proportions lessons are your favorites? 
AuthorHi, I'm Ellie! My mission here is to support teachers as they work to provide engaging, meaningful experiences for their students. I've been in education for 25 years, teaching all subject areas at both the elementary and middle school levels, and am here to share what I've learned through those years, as well as what I continue to learn. I hope you'll find some ideas or resources here to help you out! Categories
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