What percent of 50 is 4?

This question was posed to a group of second graders. The students were asked if they could write an equation that would answer the question, “What Percent of 50 Is 4?”

The first challenge for the students was finding out what 50 is. They quickly figured out that it’s 10 times 5, or 10 x 5 = 50.

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Next, they had to figure out what four is as a percentage of 10 and then find 100% in order to calculate the answer: 4 ÷ 10 = 0.40 100% + 40% = 140%. So 0.40 of 50 is four, so it’s 40%. The second graders came up with the correct answer of 40% because they figured out that when you take 100% and subtract a certain percentage from it, then add the same amount back on top of it.

Since four is 40% of 50, 0.40 would be subtracted from 100%, which would leave 60%. Then to solve for what percent four is in relation to 50, we multiply both numbers by each other: (0.40 × 50) = 20%; so (100-20) ÷ 100 x .60 = 80%. What this means is that if there was one group member left over after dividing fifty people into groups of five, he or she would get an award!

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