An essential skill for children to learn is being able to find the percent of a whole number. Finding these quantities can be broken down to a few simple steps and allows children to tackle a variety of percentage-related problems once this concept has been mastered. Take a look at the following example:
6 is what percent of 50?
In this problem, 6 is some percent of 50, making 6 a part of 50, the whole number. This question can be reworded generally as “The part is some percent of the whole.” We can transform this statement into an equation:
the part = some percent x the whole
Since a percent is a ratio whose denominator is 100, the equation can be revised:
the part = x the whole
To find the percent, we divide both sides of the equation by the whole:
Now that we have our equation ready, we can plug in variables to solve for the percent. Taking the original example, our equation looks like this (note that we have replaced “percent” with x as a variable):
After plugging in the numbers from the problem, cross multiply:
Remembering that we are solving for the percent (or in this case, x), we divide both sides of the equation by 50:
After dividing by 50, we are left with our answer:
Thus, 6 is 12% of 50.
Solving for percentages of a whole is a relatively simple task that only requires a handful of steps to accomplish. This problem is great for your children to practice their multiplication and division skills as they also learn basic concepts about solving for variables.
Another great aspect about this type of problem is that you can have your child solve for different parts of the equation to test their understanding of the concept. For example, instead of asking the question, “6 is what percent of 50?” you can try, “what is 20% of 30?” or “7 is 15% of what number?” In each case, your child will solve for different variables but will use the same formula. They will have a greater challenge but will be able to refer to previous problems for help, preventing these alternate problems from being too difficult to grasp. Be creative in how you present your kids with math problems to keep them both challenged and excited to learn.