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Introducing percentages to children

A key aspect to the understanding of percentages is the notion of 'for every 100' and it is important relate this concept to the word 'percent'.

A basic activity would be to ask children to colour in 50 squares of a 100 square. What do they notice? In year 5 children should explore halves, quarters, three quarters, tenths and hundredths, i.e. colour in 50 squares, 25 squares, 75 squares, 10 squares and 1 square respectively. Initially ask children to colour in the squares in blocks so that they can 'see' the equivalent fraction. Later you might ask children to fill in 50 squares, 25 squares, 75 squares and 10 squares to make a pattern or picture and record what percentage of the square is coloured. How many patterns/pictures can children make? In year 6 children can extend the range of squares coloured in to include for example 30%, 45%, 80%.