We started class with a ‘would you rather’ on the lottery and the information I provided included several percents. In one class students really floundered with how to find a percent of a number and so I decided to sidetrack and spend some time on the pattern of dividing by ten and then finding ten percent. When asked the dreaded “Why do I need to know this?” I went straight for tipping. Kids balked at the idea of tipping so we further sidetracked to a lesson on minimum wage and how wait staff don’t get it. Then one student made the astute observation that your hourly rate is better at Wendy’s than a sit down restaurant. Finally another student shared that he learned you calculate the tip by dividing the bill by how many people you’re eating with. He was adamant that this was the tip and not how to split the bill. So we investigated that theory. The number of misconceptions these kids have is rather appalling, but I’m glad that we took time to talk about all of this.
In the other class a student notice 500 million is 5*100 million. He found the percent of 100 million because that’s easy and then multiplied by 5. Great strategy!