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Different approaches to ratio

Today I have taught two lessons on Ratio, both were very different, but both went well. The first lesson was to a very able year 7 class. It was a long lesson (75 minutes) and we got a lot done. At the start of the lesson not everyone knew what a ratio was, but by the end they could all write ratios, work out ratios from pictures, split amounts into two part ratios and the majority of the class could split them into three part ratios.


The lesson is P2 and comes after assembly. Our academy is split into 3 schools “Foundation School”, “Middle School” and “High School”, this doesn’t mean that they are in separate buildings or anything, but it means each school is over seen by a teaching Head of School who co-ordinates everything, with each year group having a non-teaching year manager who focuses mainly on behaviour. Our assemblies are run in school groupings, and due to a raising intake of pupils, the foundation school assembly has had to be split to accommodate the whole group in the hall. This means that P2 on a Monday my Yr7 class tend to arrive in two blocks, the first half come on time, they have been in the first assembly and as such have been let out of their tutor bases at the correct time, the second group invariably arrive a few minutes late and in dribs and drabs as assembly finishes and the whole hall filters out. This can lead to a messy start to lessons, so i like to have a bell activity. Today’s was a word search based around ratio and pupils were asked to work out meanings for the words too. This was a good settler and helped them learn meanings and spellings of key tasks.


As the lesson went on we had a short task on simplifying fractions, a MWB activity on writing and simplifying ratio, a card sort activity on writing and simplifying ratio, an extension sheet here asking pupils to set things out in ratios, a discussion around splitting amounts into ratios, a task on writing instructions for this, a task involving questions on the board where they split amounts into ratios and a further extension task involving some past paper GCSE questions. The chunking of this lesson helps with the pace and to keep the pupils on task. They were all engaged with each task, and made great progress. As a plenary we reviewed the objectives and pupils graded their own learning, and I asked them to write some questions based on today’s lesson which we will use in the starter activity tomorrow. I did leave the class wondering if i had spent a little too long on the earlier tasks. I had two people in observing the lesson, not an official observation. One was a PGCE student who is due to take on the class next week, and a colleague of mine from the PE department with whom I am doing a project based on observing each other so we can gain ideas on teaching and a better grasp on the lesson grading process. (Read more here: https://cavmaths.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/observing-others/ )  My PE colleague said he could tell the lesson went well as the time flew, I think this is the key to the longer lessons, and I think in this lesson it was achieved by the amount and variety of tasks.


The second lesson I taught today on ratio was to a low ability year 8 class. They are starting at a lower level and the lesson was much shorter (50 mins), so I hadn’t planned nearly as much. At the start of the lesson they did not know what a ratio was, and by the end of the lesson they could write multiple part ratios and simplify them. They come from Tech, and all seem to be in different tech classes and arrive at different times. I find a bell activity works to settle this class too and so I used the word search, and as a class we discussed the meaning of the words.

We then went on to a discussion of ratio and what it meant and a show me activity where the pupils had to tell be the ratios of red dots to green dots etc, this was a good task and it moved onto simplifying ratios as it went through, all pupils were engaged and they all quickly got the hang of it. We then moved into drawing pictures of ratios and then onto ratio biscuits. This was an idea I had got from Paul Collins blog and I have been itching to try it, but it seems to have taken forever for ratio to come up on the SOW (http://mrcollinsmaths.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/icing-biscuits-all-in-order-to-teach.html). The class were given two biscuits each and some Smarties. The TA in the class spread frosting on their biscuits and they decorated them with said Smarties, they then had to write the ratio of colours of Smarties out on the kitchen roll (in its simplest form). If they were right, they got to eat their decorated biscuits, if they were wrong; Miss and I were going to. Unfortunately for us, they were all right. It was easy to differentiate this task by selecting the colours of Smarties the pupils received!

The plenary for this lesson was exit tickets and the pupils showed they had met the objectives and enjoyed the lesson.

Here are some pics of the biscuits!

 Ratio 3 Ratio1 Ratio2 Ratio4 Ratio5

  1. April 6, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    I think it’s great to make explicit the paralleles between fractions and ratios.

    Conceptually, finding equivalent ratios is identical to equivalent fractions

    • April 6, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      It certainly is.

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