Why are the concepts of ratio and proportion not introduced in the lower elementary grades?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Technically, they are introduced, but typically under the auspices of other subjects, namely fractions. 

In order to use ratios and proportion effectively, one has to know fractions and their algorithms.  Fractions and fraction algorithms are covered in 3rd Grade in the Common Core.  In order to perform Fraction algorithms, one has to know basic arithmetic, which is typically built in grades K-2.  That is why ratios and proportions are not developed until the underlying concepts are developed. 

By 4th grade and up, the arithmetic, and fraction skills needed to effectively operate ratios and proportions are established, and then students apply fractions and algorithms in Ratios and Proportions. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I really do not think that there is a hard and fast reason why they are not.  It is probably due to the fact that ratios and proportions involve fractionas.  Fractions are touched upon in the lower grades but are not used for calculations for some time.  As a high school teacher, I believe that you could introduce ratio and proportion in the younger grades--especially if you are using a scientific or graphing calculator that allows the user to enter fractions.  It might even be a good way to introduce fractions. 

Most high school students are petrified of fractions and I think that is because they never became comfortable with them in elementary and middle schools.  Focusing more on fractions and decimals at a younger age might help to make the transition to more advanced math smoother.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial