Unequal sharing

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Unequal sharing

In a nutshell

Ratios can be used in lots of different scenarios - one of the most common being when things are shared unequally.

Ratio vs proportion



Compares one part to another.


Compares one part to the whole thing

Example 1

​​Look at the squares. 

The ratio of shaded to unshaded squares can be written:


The proportion of shaded squares is three (the number shaded) out of four (the total number of squares). Written as a fraction:


Maths; Ratio and proportion; KS2 Year 6; Unequal sharing

Unequal sharing problems

When things are shared unequally, ratios and proportions can both be used to work out how many things each person gets.  

Example 2

For every one slice of pizza that Rachel eats, her older sister Anna eats two. There are six slices in a whole pizza. Work out how many each of them get and write your answer as a ratio.

Maths; Ratio and proportion; KS2 Year 6; Unequal sharing

Write the information as a ratio.

Rachel : Anna


Add up the ratio and work out the proportion eaten by each person.


Rachel eats a third: 13\frac{1}{3}​​

Anna eats two thirds: 23\frac{2}{3}​​

Work out each fraction of the total amount to find out how much eat person gets.

Rachel: 13\frac{1}{3} of 6=6÷3=26=6\div3=2​​

Anna: ​23\frac{2}{3}  of 6=(6÷3)×2=46=(6\div3)\times2=4

Therefore, Rachel and Anna get pizza in a ratio of 2:4.\underline{2:4}.

Note: The numbers in the ratio should be given in the same order as the words in the question.  Rachel is listed first, so her number in the ratio comes first.

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