Teaching ratio, proportion in middle grades

What does it mean to understand ratios? What is proportional reasoning? What is the role of ratio and proportion in success in algebra? How should you balance teaching skills versus teaching concepts? Should you teach students the cross-multiplication procedure? Learn answers to these questions and more in NCTM’s new Research Brief and Clip.

Proportional reasoning is one of the most fundamental topics in middle grades mathematics. Students’ ability to reason proportionally affects their understanding of fractions and measurement in elementary school, and it supports their understanding of functions and algebra in middle school and beyond. Given the importance of ratio and proportion, it is typical to see extensive class time devoted to the topic in upper elementary and middle school grades. This research brief addresses the research on what it means to understand ratio and proportion and how teachers can best support that understanding.