Pitching Proportional Reasoning

John Miller


First paragraph: What do ratios, rates, and proportions have in common with a one- armed pitcher? The answer is a story. And the story begins with this challenge: “School mathematics experiences at all levels should include opportunities to learn about mathematics by working on problems arising in contexts outside mathematics” (NCTM, 2000). Middle school students, in particular, prefer real-life problems and situations. Connecting with these students in contexts outside mathematics can be especially effective. This article discusses some of the specific teaching challenges involved and provides lesson ideas to help middle school students understand and develop proportional reasoning. A story involving the baseball statistic ERA (Earned Run Average) provides the outside context.


Proportional Reasoning; Middle school; Real-life Problem

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