What Are Ratios And Rates?

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Ratios and rates are all fundamental mathematics concepts that are used in a variety of different situations. When students grasp these 2 concepts, the language of math becomes much more fluid. They also form the basis for more advance topics in both mathematics and its related subjects.

Given their place as core topics, ratio, rate and proportion should be given more attention by parents and students alike. In this article, we introduce the 2 concepts and elaborate on their importance.

What is a Ratio?

A ratio is a comparison between multiple numbers or quantities that are measured by the same unit of measurement. By performing this comparison, we are able to grasp the difference in magnitude or quantity between the two numbers in a relative fashion. This is different from subtraction which would tell you the gross difference.

maths enrichment for primary school ratio height

In simple terms, a ratio would tell us how much more or bigger or quicker one number is than the other. Relativity is important in our daily lives as it informs much of how we see the world. This can be illustrated in the following example.

Ratio Example – Swimming Pool Depth

The adult swimming pool & child swimming pool are often adjacent to each other in swimming complexes. If you have never been to the adult pool, you may find yourself wondering how deep it is and if you should feel comfortable entering it.

The direct answer to the question would be to look up its absolute depth. Yet, without comparing this depth to that of a known and experienced quantity – the depth of the child pool or your height, you would have incomplete information to determine whether you can confidently enter the pool. As such, ratios help our minds comprehend and make sense of the difference between the depths of the pools.

Advance Applications – Financial Ratios

Financial ratios are widely used in the business world to determine the health of a company. These can be benchmarked against industry standards as well as competitors. Additionally, they allow us to get a fuller picture of the potential success of a company than what its financial statements alone would tell us.

financial statements and financial ratios

While there are numerous different financial ratios, we will be briefly covering 3 ratios in this article.

The Current Ratio is measured by dividing current assets by current liabilities. It measures the ability of a business to pay its short-term obligations. The lower the current ratio is, the higher the chance that the company may not be able to pay its bills on time.

The Debt to Equity Ratio indicates the relative mix of the source of a company’s capital. Generally, a company is considered to be heathier with a lower debt to equity ratio as it would mean proportionally less debt being held by the company.

Return on Investment (ROI) informs us of the company’s ability to utilize its investment. The higher the ratio is, the better the returns the company is experiencing from the investment. Within business circles, ROI is widely used as a benchmark not just in financial matters but also in many other aspects such as marketing and operations.

What is a Rate?

Rate can be considered as a type of ratio, the main difference being that the two variables now have different units of measurement. This helps us to form a relationship between two otherwise unrelated units. In doing so, we are able to get more complete information about a situation.

Ratio Example – Filling up a Swimming Pool

Rate is tied to speed and its related forms. Speed is an incredibly important relationship variable in the world. For example, between a small and large swimming pool, without knowing the rate of inflow of water, you would typically assume that the smaller pool would be filled first.

calculating depth of swimming pool

However, this need not necessary be the case depending on the speed of water flowing into each pool. If the bigger pool had a faster inflow of water, then it is possible that it gets filled first.

Application – Calculating the Estimated Time of Arrival

If you were to plan a road trip, then arriving at each destination on time would be among your top priorities. To do so, you would first need to find out the distances between each point of interest. Secondly, your itinerary should also map out targeted timings for you to be at the next destination.

However, knowing the time and distance alone would be unhelpful for your journey. Instead, a relationship between these two variables known as speed needs to be used. By placing the total distance to be covered and the total time available into a ratio, before simplifying it to the lowest common multiples, a rate can be found. This rate represents the minimum speed at which you would have to travel in order to reach your destination on time.

Getting your Child Help with Ratios & Rates

As demonstrated in this article, the applications of ratios and rates are endless. In almost any other subject, problem solving situation or career, your child is bound to use ratios and rates. Yet, these concepts can be highly abstract and confusing for first time learners. Hence, we recommend having them attend maths enrichment for primary school classes.

Enrichment classes allow your child to have more time interacting with ratios and rates, while also exposing them to many activities that mimic real life situations. This helps them to contextualize the concepts and makes sense of them.

Trust MLGS to Help Your Child with Mathematics

Maths Learning Groups was established by Mr. Lawrence Ong, who is NIE-Trained and an ex Primary School Teacher with more than 15 years of teaching experience. We aim to help weaker students to bridge the gap with better-performing students by catering to their learning pace and style.

We strive to provide affordable tuition rates so that no student will be deprived of the opportunity to learn from NIE-Trained teachers. We specialize in offering math tuition classes for students in Primary 3 to Primary 6. Our primary math tuition centre Singapore classes help to build up a strong solid foundation in the key mathematics concepts.

Our small group maths tuition and private tuition classes in Singapore help students maximize their learning potential. This ensures that they hone strong critical thinking skills that will carry them through in their education journey.