Thesis

Ratio, proportion, percent and consequential topics in geometry

This project proposes a method to teach percent to general mathematics students by materials that do not rely upon memorization of formulas but show the relationship among ratio, proportion, and percent, Although the word percent has been a part of students' mathematical education since junior high school, students in general mathematics do not have an adequate understanding of the concept, much less a facility for ease in computation. A clarification of the distinction between the nouns percent and percentage may be welcomed. This project regards these words as follows: Percent is a mathematical process; and percentage is the result of that process. For example, in the problem "16 is what percent of 32?” one uses a mathematical process, percent, to find the percentage. For our problem, the answer, 5O%, is the percentage found by percent. Another use of the word percentage is in the business world--percentages of increase or decrease. This investigation of the teaching of percent to general mathematics classes begins with a review of the objectives of the course in conjunction with several state approved texts. Then follows a review of the literature which includes the history of general mathematics, the general mathematics student and his mathematical education, general mathematics programs and texts, ratio and proportion in the secondary schools, teaching of percent, and proportional reasoning. Third, accepted learning theories are discussed. Finally, an overview of the materials of the project suggests that the materials fulfill course objectives, follow recommendations of the research, and use accepted learning theories. Two sparse areas were found during the progress of this project: research related to general mathematics and research related to teaching percent. The last area, prior to this project, has been empty. The materials were acquired from three major sources. The first source is original materials created by the investigator. The other two are texts, one of which has an accompanying test booklet. These texts were written especially for students who had had difficulties with the basic concepts and skills of elementary arithmetic and elementary problem solving. In addition, they were designed to stimulate students of limited interest or ability--in a word; the students explore a wide variety of mathematical situations and find that they can enjoy the mathematics while learning. (See more in text.)

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