I have found that 5th grade students have difficulty understanding and solving word problems, particularly problems involving percent concepts. I believe that students often avoid word problems, as they have not yet developed the strategies to successfully master them. Therefore, my goal is to develop a comprehensive and sequential curriculum to teach word problems. I will accomplish this via introducing, supporting, and expounding on the “meaning of percent”. In addition, students increase their retention rates when they can attach real world meaning to the information learned. Consequently, I have utilized everyday situations, which 5th grade students can relate to, in order to increase the likelihood that students will attach meaning and increase retention rates of the lessons.
I have developed an assortment of word problems beginning quite simplistically to address percent in an elementary fashion. These easier problems will become the foundation of the introduction of the unit. I will build on prior knowledge and develop the percent concepts slowly, utilizing many examples and corresponding illustrations. Students should be successful in solving these easier problems, which should lead to excitement and desire to continue to solve progressively more difficult word problems. The problems will increase in difficulty and will culminate with quite challenging word problems for the gifted and talented students. I plan to share my unit with my colleagues, at Jackie Robinson Middle School, as we are developing our vertical teaming approach to mathematics education.
I will utilize many problem solving strategies to teach students that the “meaning of percent” is per 100. Percent means per hundredths. Therefore, one whole is equivalent to 100 hundredths. Any percent less that 100 hundredths or 100% is equivalent to a fraction with a value less than 100%. When a percent is greater than 100% it represents an equivalent improper fraction.