Is Your Child A Proportional Thinker?


Is Your Child A Proportional ThinkerWhen your child comes to you for math help, you may think they are speaking an entirely different language. The way that math operations are now taught have most likely changed since you were in school and appear completely different. Not only is the representation different, but the way your child speaks about math may also be different. 

We recognize these barriers between parent and child when discussing mathematics, which is why at Dropkick Math, we believe it is so important to educate the child and the parent. When you get involved and upgrade your education on the foundation of math, you can better help your child in their studies. 

The Four Pillars

We focus our programs on the four pillars of math (number sense, operational sense, algebraic reasoning, proportional reasoning). It is vital that every student fully understands each of these four pillars as the foundational concepts because one weak pillar can significantly impact future success. 

Proportional reasoning is often considered the foundation to abstract mathematical understanding as it is a unifying theme throughout mathematics. However, it is estimated that over half of the adult population are not proportional thinkers. So how can you tell if your child is a proportional thinker?

If your child can generally distinguish between additive relationships, (e.g., 8 is 6 more than 2) and multiplicative relationships, (e.g., 8 is 4 times as much as 2) they may be a proportional thinker. If they are able to compare ratios, they also may be a proportional thinker. Overall if your child can describe relationships between two or more things and see groups of items in various ways, they may be a proportional thinker.

Proportional Thinking Education

It is vital for all children to acquire good proportional reasoning skills to take them through school and later in life. The importance of proportional reasoning for students is often focused in junior and intermediate grades. Still, many educators believe it is vital to grasp these skills in kindergarten and primary grades when students begin grouping, unitizing, (e.g., one dime is a unit of 10 pennies) and sharing.

Students begin to use proportional reasoning early in math education. They often start by thinking of groups of numbers rather than whole numbers. For example, they may think of 10 as two groups of 5. Later on in education, proportional reasoning is used slightly differently. An example of this may be thinking how a speed of 50/km an hour is the same speed as 25/km per 30 minutes. Continuing in their education, students will use proportional reasoning when learning about percents, rates of change, and slopes of lines.

How Is Proportional Reasoning Used?

But proportional reasoning isn’t just used for mathematics. Many may be surprised to know that proportional reasoning can be helpful in other subject areas such as music, geography, and science. On a daily basis, people also use proportional reasoning to calculate taxes, find the best deals at a store, or adjust recipes.

From these examples, it is easy to see how thinking proportionally is critical in developing a child’s understanding of mathematics. But young children don’t think proportionately naturally. Proportional thinking must be developed as a foundational skill of our most basic math concepts, which is why many parents explore math tutoring for their children. 

As one of the four main pillars of mathematics, our programs help students learn proportional reasoning and fill in any underlying misconceptions they may have. Our math help services are built to suit each child, offering differentiated approaches, making it accessible for all learning needs.  

Learn more about our programs and how we can help ensure your child becomes a proportional thinker in mathematics and throughout life!