Understanding the Concept of Percent

Mar 26, 2020 | Long Beach Bixby Knolls


  • Do you know what the word percent means?
  • At Mathnasium, we know if a student is going to understand percent or any math concept, they need to understand what they are being asked to solve. 
  • PER means “for each” and CENT means 100.  Percent means “for each 100.”

When students are introduced to the concept of percent in school, often they have never been told what the word percent means.  At Mathnasium of Edmond, we know if a student is going to understand how to do percents or any math concept, they need to understand what they are reading and what is being asked to solve.  It must go deeper than simply putting numbers in front of them and saying: “Go.”

There are many math instructional methods and math tutoring tips we provide our students to help them expand their abilities and confidence. 

Whether it’s sales tax when at the cashier, a tip for the wait staff when dining out, trying to determine how much you’ll save from a promotional offer, a basketball player shooting percentage or understanding and solving for the percent of a number is something that happens nearly every day. 

When working with children on percent, the Mathnasium Method starts by breaking down the word. 

PER means “for each” and CENT means 100.  So, percent means “for each 100.”

Here are a few examples of how this mental math works for determining percent:

  • 8% of 400 … 8 for each 100 … 8+8+8+8; or 8 x 4 … 32
  • 12% of 125 … 12 for the 100 … PLUS… If 25 is a quarter of 100, we need to find a quarter of 12, which is 3.  Add the 12 and 3 … the answer is 15.
  • 15% of 450 .... 15 for each 100...PLUS...50 is half of 100. We find half of 15, which is 7 1/2. Add 15+15+15+15+7.5= 67.5

By breaking it down in this manner, the concept of percent can be introduced as early as second grade and the student can come up with the answer by doing the math in their head, without pencil and paper.

This is just the one example of how Mathnasium of Bixby Knolls and our team of math instructors can help students with their math learning process.  It’s more than math tutoring when you work with us, it’s creating a true understanding of math skills for both the classroom and for life.

With COVID19, school closure, less face-to-face teaching time, and potentially even fewer instructional hours, students are falling behind without teachers and parents even knowing or knowing how far. Our students are just given assignments on the computer and are expected to teach themselves. True math understanding is being lost in our schools.

At Mathnasium of BixbyKnolls, we believe every students can improve their math skills.  It’s just a matter of teaching math in a way that makes sense to them.  That's what we do!