Percentages tend to bore 6th grade students. After all, what do they care about earning interest and calculating statistics? There are percentages, however, that they can relate to: sales. After all, if they see a pair of designer jeans on sale for 60% off, they have to know whether they can afford them, right?
Tap into this interest by making your own “store." Over the course of a week or so, generously hand out fake money to students who are working well, complete assignments, or take on extra work. At the end of the week, set out different prizes along a table in the classroom. Provide various cheap objects that students might like, such as decorative school supplies, snack foods, or gift certificates for class privileges, and label them with both prices and sale signs. For example, a small notebook might have the price “$5.00" on it, with a for sale sign that reads “20% off." Have students make their selections on paper and hand them in to you at the end of the period. That night, check their papers to make sure that each student has calculated correctly. The next day, give each student the objects that she calculated correctly.