When students enter the classroom, the following word problem is projected on the whiteboard. Tell them to work this problem out with their “elbow” partner.
"You are going shopping for school supplies. Pencils cost 25 cents, and pens cost
50 cents.You have budgeted 5 dollars for both. What are the different ways you
could buy pencils and pens while staying within your budget?"
Allow the students about 5 minutes to discuss the problem. I inform them that what is being sought is an inequality representing the problem, along with its graph. Allow them to use graph paper, their calculator, or the desmos.com calculator if they have access.
Once finished, I call on someone and ask…. “ok, how did you and your partner develop your ideas, and what inequality did you come up with?”
They should have concluded with something like 0.25x + 0.50y ≤ 5. Ask other students if they came up with something different.
A “sometimes” error:
Be on the lookout for students who forget we are dealing with money and write the equation as:
25x + 50y ≤ 5
I then open desmos.com and ask the student to come up and graph the inequality on the screen for all to see. Ask the following questions while the graph is up:
Tell students that some inequalities are quite easy to graph and find the shaded region for. These are the ones whose boundaries are vertical or horizontal.
With the graph of .25x + .5y ≤ 5 projected on the board, tell the students to think about the following scenario…
Suppose that you had to buy exactly 10 pencils, how many pens could you be able to buy to stay within the budget of 5 bucks?
Ask them to solve this manually. (Students should substitute x for 10 in the inequality and solve for y, obtaining y ≤ 5. They should say that you can purchase 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or 0 pens)
I then use the desmos graph already projected to demonstrate the inequality y ≤ 5 resulting from substituting 10 for x.
The following video narrative poses this scenario as well as one where the number of pens to buy must be four….leading to the inequality x ≤ 12, which they are asked to solve manually as well.
After the work and the desmos demonstation, or any video demonstration for that matter, I like to ask the students to stand and stretch a bit….get blood circulating ….and then I tell them to take a few moments to think about how they can literally summarize the objective of this lesson in a paragraph of no more than three sentences. I ask each student to write their paragraph on a piece of paper. Once they’ve done so, I ask a few students to share what they wrote. I like to write a good paragraph on the board for all to copy into their notebooks.
I proceed to end the lesson using the 6 question resource (Closing _6Questions.docx). I like to do this orally. Most get this pretty well by now, and you will most certainly get a choir of correct answers.
Suppose you have another pen and pencil problem. The prices, 25 cents for pencils and 50 cents for pens, and the budget, 5 bucks, remain the same. Yet you must purchase at least 3 pencils and at least 2 pens. Graph this scenario on a coordinate plane.
You should develop three inequalities, including our original .25x +.50y ≤ 5
and plot 3 different graphs on the same coordinate plane.