Illuminations Lesson: Understanding Rational Numbers and Proportions
In this lesson, students use real-world models to develop an understanding of fractions, decimals, unit rates, proportions, and problem solving. The three activities in this investigation center on situations involving rational numbers and proportions that students encounter at a bakery. These activities involve several important concepts of rational numbers and proportions, including partitioning a unit into equal parts, the quotient interpretation of fractions, the area model of fractions, determining fractional parts of a unit not cut into equal-sized pieces, equivalence, unit prices, and multiplication of fractions.
Number and Operations Standard for Grades 6-8
In grades 6–8, students should deepen their understanding of fractions, decimals, percents, and integers, and they should become proficient in using them to solve problems. By solving problems that require multiplicative comparisons (e.g., "How many times as many?" or "How many per?"), students will gain extensive experience with ratios, rates, and percents, which helps form a solid foundation for their understanding of, and facility with, proportionality. The study of rational numbers in the middle grades should build on students' prior knowledge of whole-number concepts and skills and their encounters with fractions, decimals, and percents in lower grades and in everyday life. Students' facility with rational numbers and proportionality can be developed in concert with their study of many topics in the middle-grades curriculum. For example, students can use fractions and decimals to report measurements, to compare survey responses from samples of unequal size, to express probabilities, to indicate scale factors for similarity, and to represent constant rate of change in a problem or slope in a graph of a linear function.