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Math Vocabulary: Percent

Math vocabulary word of the day: percent!


Why is it that we oft forget the importance of math vocabulary? In reading instruction, it is always included as part of the programming but often in mathematics instruction, it is breezed over.

Neurodiverse students especially need to be taught directly the roots, prefixes, and suffixes not only in everyday reading but in math vocabulary too! This is called Morphology.

What Is Morphology?

Morphology, a word of Greek origin, combines “morphe,” meaning form, and “ology,” meaning the study of. Morphing creates mental pictures of children’s toys such as LEGO™ bricks that click together to create new forms beyond a rectangular prism.


Building a Spaceship!

Morphology works in much the same manner, with students manipulating the parts of words to create new meanings or altered, but similar, meanings.

Below in this video, we’re studying the word ‘percent.

…You are an amazing study word. You keep it simple and straightforward. And for that–we will forever be thankful!

Per means “for” and cent means “hundred. Percent is a special ratio written with a 100 in the denominator. Check out the video to see what other words have the root “cent” in it!

Click to watch this super quick video!

Tap for Video Transcript Here



Comes from 

Latin meaning “for


Comes from

Latin meaning “hundred”

What do you think percent means? Let’s look at other words that have the cent in them.


cent means hundred

Century means one group of one hundred. In modern English, it’s taken on the meaning: one group of 100 years. 


cent  means one hundred

A centurion commands a group 

of 100 

Roman soldiers. 

What do you think percent means?

Percent – for each hundred

A percent is a special ratio that has a denominator with a hundred in it. The denominator is the number at the bottom of the ratio. It tells us the name of the parts. In a percent, the denominator never changes. It can be written as a ratio or fraction like this

Or like this! The symbol at the end tells us that we have 85 out of 100. 

In the 17th century, percent was written like this! A zero over zero 

Over time it evolved into this symbol. The two zeros are a good reminder that this is a ratio with a 100 in the denominator. 

Percent – for each hundred.


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It all starts by watching our demo video where we show you what it all looks like at various grade levels. You’ll understand student, parent, and math specialist expectations. 

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