Reflection: Student Communication Sales Tax (Lesson 3 in lesson progression) - Section 4: Whole Group Instruction


As we were having our whole group instruction, I posed this opening question, "What can you tell me about tax?" The responses I received gave me great insight to the cultural relevance of this lesson.  Some of the responses were "It is the money that the government takes out of your check.", "It is the money my mom gets in February." "It's the money you have to pay the President so that he can get paid." Oh, I love these moments.  This led to a discussion about the difference in income tax, and sales tax.  


We then started to discuss that each state has a set sales tax amount and within the state local cities may have the authority to increase or decrease this amount.  We logged into and found that our State has a 7.0% sales tax.  This site also allows you to look up sales tax within zip codes of your own state, as well as the sales tax in states around the U.S.  We were able to have a rich discussion about the government and their role in tax.  What a great cross curricular moment.  My aha moment came when the students and I were scrolling through other states, and one students said I would love to live in Alaska.  I thought to myself, that was random.  What he did was make a real world connection.  He saw that Alaska has no sales tax.  It was awesome.  Other students chimed in with excitement, "look at Oregon, they have not tax," and this started a snowball effect into comparing states with little to no tax to those with higher sales tax amounts.  You can only imagine the real world word problems I was creating in my head right then and there.  This will allow us to compare pricing of items between states.  This allowed us to talk about why purchasing a candy bar in Ohio is more expensive in New York.  The sales tax is higher there.  This also gave way to discussion about cost of living.  Oh I was pumped!  I adjusted the original homework problem to suit this discussion.  I hope you enjoy. 

  Interesting Discussion! Sales Tax vs Income Tax! and an "Aha moment"
  Student Communication: Interesting Discussion! Sales Tax vs Income Tax! and an "Aha moment"
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Sales Tax (Lesson 3 in lesson progression)

Unit 3: Proportional Reasoning with Percents
Lesson 5 of 16

Objective: SWBAT solve real world problems involving sales tax through translating text into computational equations.

Big Idea: Students will enjoy becoming math translators. They will use this strategy to solve complex real world math problems involving sales tax.

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