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Teaching Proportional Reasoning

Updated: Jan 16, 2018

In order for children to develop a deep understanding of mathematics they need to be able to think and reason proportionally.

Proportional reasoning is the ability to consider a number in relative terms, rather than absolute terms (Paying Attention To Proportional Reasoning, Ontario Ministry of Education, 2012). One activity this monograph suggests for primary grades is asking children to compare the worth of a group of four nickles to the worth of a group of four pennies. These types of activities invite children to think about relationships and make comparisons of quantities or values.


In this very cute counting book one bear thinks he’s the biggest thing around but the other animals show him that when they join together they are just as big.

1 bear = 3 foxes To extend this learning use Cuisenaire rods and ask children, “If the book is 3 orange rods long, how long would it be measured in yellow rods?” This math activity helps children develop their proportional reasoning skills in measurement.

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