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ERIC Number: EJ818727
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0045-0685
Proportion in Middle-School Mathematics: It's Everywhere
Shield, Mal; Dole, Shelley
Australian Mathematics Teacher, v64 n3 p10-15 2008
Proportional thinking is the mathematical basis of a wide range of topics in the middle-school mathematics curriculum. While the concept is obvious in the traditionally-named ratio and proportion sections, proportional thinking is also the key to such diverse topics as rate, gradient of a linear function, similarity, trigonometry and percentage, to name but a few. The separation of topics and the lack of focus on the underlying structures of concepts are key problems in the presentation of mathematics to students. In his "Principles for the Design of Teaching", Alan Bell (1993) discussed the idea of "structure and context". This principle highlights the need to help students to see that the same mathematical structures can occur in different contexts. If the structure is recognized in a new context, then solution methods similar to those used previously can be applied to the new context. In this article, the authors first outline ways of working in proportional situations and then demonstrate how similar solution methods for problems based on proportion can be adopted in a range of contexts. The authors argue that "proportion" is not really a topic in its own right, but rather the concept underlying a wide range of topics.
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A