10%  50%  25%  15%  
£16  
£22  
£70  
£5.40  
£25.50  
£80.40 
Copy and complete this table in the back of your exercise book.
No calculator allowed!
Topics: Starter  Percentages
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This activity is suitable for students of mathematics all around the world. Use the button below to change the currency symbol used to make it more relevant to your students. You may wish to choose an unfamiliar currency to extend your students' experience. 
%  This is the percent symbol.
Percent means 'out of 100'.
As 50 is half of 100, then 50% means half. To find 50% of a quantity you need to halve (or divide by two). So 50% of 6 is 3.
As 10 is one tenth of 100, then 10% means 'one tenth of'. To find 10% of a quantity you need to divide it by ten. So 10% of 800 is 80.
As 25 is one quarter of 100, then 25% means 'one quarter of'. To find 25% of a quantity you need to divide it by four. So 25% of 20 is 5.
Another way of finding 25% of a quantity is first finding 50% then dividing the result by 2.
As 33⅓ is one third of 100, then 33⅓% means 'one third of'. To find 33⅓% of a quantity you need to divide it by three. So 33⅓% of 30 is 10.
As 1 is one hundredth of 100, then 1% means 'one hundredth of'. To find 1% of a quantity you need to divide it by 100. So 1% of 800 is 8.
Other percentages can be found by combining some of the techniques mentioned above. Here are some examples:
If you need to use a calculator to check your working. See Calculator Workout skill 3.
Did you know that if you are struggling to mentally work out 24% of 50 you can switch the numbers round and work out 50% of 24 instead. Finding 50% is very easy isn’t it? You will get the same answer.
Finding a percentage of a quantity is an example of a commutative calculation. Not all operations are commutative. Subtraction certainly isn’t as 10 minus one is not the same as one minus ten.
You can use this trick to improve your ability to do this type of calculation quickly if you find the switch makes it easier.
Practise with 12% of 50, 4% of 25 and 75% of 10.
10%  50%  25%  15%  
£16  £1.60  £8  £4  £2.40 
£22  £2.20  £11  £5.50  £3.30 
£70  £7  £35  £17.50  £10.50 
£5.40  54p  £2.70  £1.35  81p 
£25.50  £2.55  £12.75  £6.38*  £3.83* 
£80.40  £8.04  £40.20  £20.10  £12.06 
*These answers have been rounded to the nearest penny
See also In Your Head 2
Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the link above to find another version of this starter or you can manually change the values in the table above.
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