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Math Lesson Idea: Teaching Percentages


Teach your student how to calculate percentages using the Percent Tricks method. This method requires the ability to multiply and divide whole numbers. Good subtraction skills are helpful.


Begin with example 2 on the handout.

  1. Read and discuss example 2 on the Percent Tricks handout.
  2. Have your student count the total number of candies in the bag and then separate the candies by color. Using the method explained on the handout, show your student how to figure out what percent each color is of the total number of candies.
  3. Make sure your student understands how to put the numbers into the grid.
  4. Show how to use the calculator to attain or check the answer.
  5. Let your student practice some similar problems from the Number Power 2 book. Have the student check each answer with the calculator.
  6. Teach a “real life” connection for this skill. Explain how to use this method to calculate a test score.
  7. You could also teach how to make a pie chart to illustrate the results, using this useful online graphing tool (requires Shockwave).
  8. Follow a similar procedure to teach examples 1 and 3 on the handout. For real life applications, try this method using newspaper ads:
    1. Find ads for sales advertising percentages off a variety of items. Using the method just taught, show your student how to figure out the amount a particular item's price has been reduced, then calculate the sale price by subtracting that amount from the original price.
    2. Read and discuss example 3 on the handout. Show your student how to figure out the original price of an item when the percent and the amount off are known.
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