# What concrete models can I use to help special needs students solve percent problems?

Dec 17, 2015 6:03pm

• Math
• 6-8
• Differentiation

4

• Dec 19, 2015 10:11am

Relating percents to fractions allows for lots of good models that can be used (like pizza, pies, groups of students, questions on a test, etc). For example: talking about how many students in the class out of the total number have pets, like apples or anything that can be counted. M&M's are a good (and fun!) tool too because of all the different colors, there are a lot of questions that you can ask about what percent each color are in a giant bag of M&M's.

Not sure what level your students are at, but this video is a good example too:
https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/teach-fractions-with-manipulatives

Good luck!

• Jan 2, 2016 3:05pm

Hi Lauren,

Happy New Year. Thank you for the video you have sent. My students levels vary from 1st-3rd and they are special need students. I have to teach them how to find a percent of a number, find the whole given its quantity and percent, find the percent represented by the quantity, and finding the whole given the quantity and percent word problems.

• Jan 2, 2016 3:10pm

Hi Kristin, Happy New Year
Thanks for the tip and I will use that as an introduction to percent. I have to teach my students how to find the percent of a number, find the whole given its quantity and and percent, find the whole given its quantity and percent word problems, and find the percent represented by the quantity. I teach special need students whose levels vary from 1st-3rd.

• Jan 6, 2016 8:33am

This might not be a concrete way because sometimes these manipulatives may cause more confusion. Have you tried giving them a template as in a math sentence? I think Kristin alluded to this idea so as a general, it's "part" (of a whole) over the "base/whole" is equal to the "percent" out of "100". Then it becomes a matter of knowing which quantity goes with which except that 100 is always 100 in this proportional sentence. If it's for grades 1 through 3, they may not be as developmentally ready unless they know what a fraction is. What I like about Kristin's idea is that it helps build up benchmark numbers that can be committed to memory. By Grades 5, 6 or 7, students should realize that they multiply with percents to get the part by cross multiplying. Sorry, I've never taught grade school.