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Mangos for Sale

Alignments to Content Standards: 6.RP.A.2


A store was selling 8 mangos for \$10 at the farmers market.

Keisha said,

“That means we can write the ratio 10 : 8, or \$1.25 per mango.”

Luis said,

“I thought we had to write the ratio the other way, 8 : 10, or 0.8 mangos per dollar."

Can we write different ratios for this situation? Explain why or why not.

IM Commentary

The purpose of this task is to generate a classroom discussion about ratios and unit rates in context. Sometimes students think that when a problem involves ratios in a context, whatever quantity is written first should be the first quantity in the ratio a:b. However, because the context itself does not dictate the order, it is important to recognize that a given situation may be represented by more than one ratio. An example of this is any problem involving unit conversions; sometimes one wants 3 feet : 1 yard and the associated unit rate 3 feet per yard and sometimes one wants 1 yard : 3 feet and the associated unit rate $\frac13$ yard per foot.

A similar task that provides students an opportunity to choose between the two different ratios and associated unit rates based on their usefulness is in development.


Yes, this context can be modeled by both of these ratios and their associated unit rates. The context itself doesn’t determine the order of the quantities in the ratio; we choose the order depending on what we want to know.

agrannemann says:

over 6 years

To be sure, this task generates discussion. I see an opportunity for cooperative learning. Which is a more practical/useful ratio--price per mango or will the grocer sell me 80% of a single fruit? You get the idea. Even my 4 year old would cackle at that.