Proportional Relationships

Type of Unit: Concept

Prior Knowledge

Students should be able to:

  • Understand what a rate and ratio are.
  • Make a ratio table.
  • Make a graph using values from a ratio table.

Lesson Flow

Students start the unit by predicting what will happen in certain situations. They intuitively discover they can predict the situations that are proportional and might have a hard time predicting the ones that are not. In Lessons 2–4, students use the same three situations to explore proportional relationships. Two of the relationships are proportional and one is not. They look at these situations in tables, equations, and graphs. After Lesson 4, students realize a proportional relationship is represented on a graph as a straight line that passes through the origin. In Lesson 5, they look at straight lines that do not represent a proportional relationship. Lesson 6 focuses on the idea of how a proportion that they solved in sixth grade relates to a proportional relationship. They follow that by looking at rates expressed as fractions, finding the unit rate (the constant of proportionality), and then using the constant of proportionality to solve a problem. In Lesson 8, students fine-tune their definition of proportional relationship by looking at situations and determining if they represent proportional relationships and justifying their reasoning. They then apply what they have learned to a situation about flags and stars and extend that thinking to comparing two prices—examining the equations and the graphs. The Putting It Together lesson has them solve two problems and then critique other student work.

Gallery 1 provides students with additional proportional relationship problems.

The second part of the unit works with percents. First, percents are tied to proportional relationships, and then students examine percent situations as formulas, graphs, and tables. They then move to a new context—salary increase—and see the similarities with sales taxes. Next, students explore percent decrease, and then they analyze inaccurate statements involving percents, explaining why the statements are incorrect. Students end this sequence of lessons with a formative assessment that focuses on percent increase and percent decrease and ties it to decimals.

Students have ample opportunities to check, deepen, and apply their understanding of proportional relationships, including percents, with the selection of problems in Gallery 2.

Mathematics, Ratios and Proportions
Middle School
  • Percentages
  • Proportions
  • Ratios