Students in sixth grade should be familiar with converting fractions to decimals and vice versa. (I know, I know, the operative words are “should be”) So the first thing that I did was remind students that fractions are decimals and decimals are fractions. We discussed benchmark fractions (1/2, 1/4 etc) and used those as well.
Afterwards we moved onto percents. I asked students to brainstorm where they have seen percents. Students said a variety of places, like shopping, coupons etc. Then I asked more specifically about 50% and what 50% meant to them. To my surprise the students had wonderful real world situations to retell. One student said 50% meant halfway because when he looks at his battery life on his cell phone or laptop, and he knows that his battery is half full. Another student recalled downloading an update on his PS4. He knows that when the update says 50% that the download is halfway done. The common word “half” kept being said. So that allowed me to bridge right over to what fraction is a half? and then what decimal is a half? Students then discovered that 50% = 1/2 = 0.50. Using this discovery we talked about other fractions and decimals. Students quickly connected other percents to fractions and decimals. This was a great discovery approach that allowed students to construct their own meaning while I facilitated the process. We made generalizations together on how to convert between fractions, decimals and percents and recorded those in our journals.
The next day we moved onto a scavenger hunt that I made that allowed students to work in partners to convert between fractions, decimals and percents.
The last thing that we did was PERCENT TO WIN IT! This activity is a play on Minute to Win It game show that has contestants doing challenges within a minute! Students completed a series of events and then calculated the percent, fraction and decimals of their outcome. They had an absolute blast completing these challenges!