No, this post isn't about some 2-letter naughty word. It's about the percent sign! The percent sign is the symbol used to represent a number as a fraction of 100. The percent sign also has a couple cousins called the permille (‰) and permyriad (‱). They indicate numbers as fractions of 1,000 and 10,000 respectively.
In the mid 14th century, the precursor to % emerged as "per cento," an Italian phrase meaning "for a hundred." About 100 years later, an abbreviation emerged, "pc" with a small circle. This eventually evolved into a horizontal line with a circle above and below it. In modern times, the horizontal line was rotated to the diagonal with which we are all familiar.
For older children, let them help figure out the tip the next time you go out to eat. Make sure to double check their arithmetic, you don't want to stiff the server! You can also encourage them to play math games for kids.
For younger children, introduce them to % and other mathematical symbols like +, - and = using fruit and vegetables. Make learning a healthy snack! For a %, you can use a carrot or celery for the long bar with fruit slices as the circles. Talk to your kids about the symbol and what it means. At a young age, whether they can understand the meaning and usage is irrelevant. Simply introducing the symbols will help your kids recognize them later.
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