Year 6

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We can calculate percentages of whole numbers

Year 6 Unit 12

What we are learning:

  • We are learning to find the percentage of a number or a group of objects, without a calculator, and then with a calculator.
  • Percentages are all around us, especially when we go shopping, but also in the news too.
  • The link to work on fractions is essential to understanding percentages.
    Remember that 1% = 1/100 (one hundredth, or one part out of a hundred)
    Therefore 100% is 100/100 (one hundred parts out of a hundred, or the ‘whole’)
    If we said that 100% of fans were wearing blue scarves then every single one of them would be wearing a blue scarf! If we said that in the Sale there was a 100% reduction in price, then we would not pay anything for the goods!
  • To find a percentage of a whole number we can divide it by 100 and then multiply the answer by the percentage that we want.
  • 12% of £50 can be calculated as follows:
    £50 ÷ 100 = £0.50 (which is 1%)
    £0.50 x 12 = £6.00 (which is 12 % of £50)
  • If we have a calculator the process is even faster.
  • The keys we need to use for the same calculation are:
    50 x 12%
    this will give us the same answer, 6.0 or £6 in this case.
    If we want to calculate 35% of 700 we use the keys:
    700 x 35% and the answer displayed will be 245
    We could get to the same answer on paper by working out:
    700 ÷ 100 x 35

Activities you can do at home:

Look for the use of percentages all around you in shops, in newspapers, on television, on the radio.
Have a go at the Activity sheet, and if you are confident try the Extension Activity.

Good questions to ask:

Why do you think we use percentages so much?
Would a sale with 50% off be better than one with 20% off the price? Why?
What fraction is the same as 50%?
What fraction is the same as 25%?

If your child:

Can calculate percentages but is not sure what they mean
Talk about percentages in real life a lot.
Look at what VAT as a percentage does to different prices, from less expensive objects to very expensive objects.
Look at sale prices to see how much you are saving as a result of the percentage taken off.

Extension Activity

Please use this activity when you think your child understands the unit of work. It will deepen and extend your child’s understanding of this unit.


Extension activity (PDF)

Extension activity answers (PDF)