Ratio activities to engage mathematics students

Mathematics teacher Holly Millican shares three activities she uses in her classroom to support her lessons on ratio, and help students relate the concepts they're learning to everyday scenarios.

Millican says that ratio is a topic that students of all age levels and levels of mathematical competency can relate to. ‘[They] can very easily see exactly how this topic does relate to real life so it's a really fun one for that,' she says.

All of the activities are an opportunity for students to practise and apply their skills and knowledge, and are fun alternatives to other drill-style activities.

The first game Millican shares in today's video is called 4-in-a-row ratio – an activity she says is generally aimed at a Stage 4 level.

‘To play this game, students are to split into pairs or groups of four, depending on the level of the class, and are to flip a ratio card and match said ratio card to the correct picture shown on their sheet, simplifying the ratio if necessary,' Millican explains.

Students use counters to mark their correct answers with the goal of achieving four in a row. ‘This is a great little game which I often use to finish off a ratio lesson,' she says.

The second activity is one called Race for Ratio. Using magnetic darts and magnetic bullseyes attached to the whiteboard, students throw the dart at a target that has a ratio question attached underneath.

‘Questions are worth different points and students try to collect as many points as possible throughout the lesson. I will usually use this activity in place of a revision sheet for a topic as it gets the kids moving around the room and trying something a little bit different, just to try and keep them a bit more engaged,' Millican says.

The third and final activity is called Ratio Investigation and it's one that helps to develop students' critical and creative thinking skills, while relating ratio to the real world at the same time. Millican says this investigation task could easily be set up as a summative take-home investigation, or used as an in-class task.

‘Students are to cut up the 16 clues and use these clues to fill out the table correctly. I find this activity works really well for a mid-level class, if the students are able to work in pairs, it usually keeps them more engaged as well,' Millican says.

‘This activity usually takes a full hour-long lesson to complete and it's a really great one for relating the topic content to an idea that is real and tangible for the kids, to really get them paying a bit closer attention.'


What activities do you use to relate the theory of ratio to real world scenarios? Do you find that games help students to grasp these concepts and see how they are applied to every day life?

If you’re looking for some mathematics activities related to a specific topic you’re teaching, please leave a comment below and Holly Millican will consider it for an upcoming video.