Name: Adam

Who is asking: Student
Level: Middle

Question: Hi I am a student in 8th grade. I am doing a project where I come to this website and ask a math expert about a certain topic. My topic is ratios and proportions. Can you please tell me what your job is and how you use ratio's and proportions in your job. Can you also please explain what ratios and proportions are. Thank you.

Hi Adam,

I am mathematician. My job is being a professor at a university where I teach mathematics. I teach students who are studying to earn a degree in mathematics, or teaching, or Engineering, or a science, or economics, or fine arts, or medicine or just about any degree you can think of.

Ratios and proportions are different ways of expressing fractions. If you have three dollars in your pocket and I have five dollars in my pocket then you have three-fifths as many dollars as I have. That is, as a proportion you have three-fifths as many dollars as I have. As a ratio I would say that the ratio of the number of dollars you have to the number I have is 3 to 5. We often write this as 3:5.

In my job I teach students about ratios and proportions, but I also use them in my life outside the classroom. For example last weekend I had to drive out of town 140 kilometers and it took me 1 1/2 hours. This weekend I have to travel 700 kilometers. Since 700 is 5 times 140 the ratio of the distances is 1:5. Hence the ratio of the times should also be 1:5. Thus it should take me 1 1/2 x 5 or 7 1/2 hours.

A while ago we received a question on ratios from another student names Steve. I suggest that you also read the reply we sent him.

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