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Teaching mathematics
Teaching mathematics

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1 Developing proportional reasoning and an appreciation of multiplicative structure

Proportional reasoning involves thinking about relationships and making comparisons between two or more quantities using multiplicative reasoning. It is a complex way of thinking which requires learners to think about numbers and values in relative, rather than absolute, terms.

Proportional reasoning is a hugely important part of school mathematics as it underpins many other topics. For instance, it is instrumental in working with fractions, decimals and percentages, as well as similarity and enlargements. Proportional reasoning also assists learners when working on other topics throughout the mathematics curriculum, from simple probability to problems involving trigonometry.

In addition to being relevant to several topics in the mathematics curriculum, proportional reasoning also has many practical applications. It is used to calculate best buys, to work with scale drawings and maps, to adjust recipes or create particular concentrations of mixtures and solutions and to perform currency conversions.