Can your students solve this problem?

There are 20% more girls than boys in the senior class.

What percent of the seniors are girls?

This is from a discussion of the semantics of percent problems and why students have trouble with them, going on over at MathNotations. (Follow-up post here.)

Our pre-algebra class just finished a chapter on percents, so I thought Chickenfoot might have a chance at this one. Nope! He leapt without thought to the conclusion that 60% of the class must be girls.

After I explained the significance of the word “than”, he solved the follow-up problem just fine.