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% - This is the percent symbol.
Percent means 'out of 100'.
As 50 is half of 100, then 50% means half. To find 50% of a quantity you need to halve (or divide by two). So 50% of 6 is 3.
As 10 is one tenth of 100, then 10% means 'one tenth of'. To find 10% of a quantity you need to divide it by ten. So 10% of 800 is 80.
As 25 is one quarter of 100, then 25% means 'one quarter of'. To find 25% of a quantity you need to divide it by four. So 25% of 20 is 5.
Another way of finding 25% of a quantity is first finding 50% then dividing the result by 2.
As 33⅓ is one third of 100, then 33⅓% means 'one third of'. To find 33⅓% of a quantity you need to divide it by three. So 33⅓% of 30 is 10.
As 1 is one hundredth of 100, then 1% means 'one hundredth of'. To find 1% of a quantity you need to divide it by 100. So 1% of 800 is 8.
Other percentages can be found by combining some of the techniques mentioned above. Here are some examples:
If you need to use a calculator to check your working. See Calculator Workout skill 3.
Did you know that if you are struggling to mentally work out 24% of 50 you can switch the numbers round and work out 50% of 24 instead. Finding 50% is very easy isn’t it? You will get the same answer.
Finding a percentage of a quantity is an example of a commutative calculation. Not all operations are commutative. Subtraction certainly isn’t as 10 minus one is not the same as one minus ten.
You can use this trick to improve your ability to do this type of calculation quickly if you find the switch makes it easier.
Practise with 12% of 50, 4% of 25 and 75% of 10.
Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers.
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Teacher, do your students have access to computers such as tablets, iPads or Laptops? This page was really designed for projection on a whiteboard but if you really want the students to have access to it here is a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments:
However it would be better to assign one of the student interactive activities below.
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See the National Curriculum page for links to related online activities and resources.