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Pre-Algebra Real Life Project

Algebra Real Life Project

by: Mrs. Smith, Middle School math teacher

This year, I wanted to take the time to show my students what it looks like, mathematically, to live off of the minimum wage in the United States as we near the holiday season. Students will be given a minimum wage “paycheck” and have to make life decisions based upon that amount. I think this is a great learning opportunity for them, not only from a math/budgeting perspective, but also to remind them how fortunate they are and that all of their fundraising/donating efforts are incredibly impactful.

From there, we opened up a dialogue with the students about how they would like to collectively help those in need this year – in years past we have collected canned foods, but I wanted to leave it to the students to decide how they wanted to proceed.

During the project, we calculated what basic yearly living expenses would look like in Tulsa, and then compared that to an annual minimum wage paycheck. The responses I received were astounding – so many shocked faces and statements of disappointment. We also looked more closely at how a holiday will impact their budget and begin brainstorming how we can help.

Finally, the students determined they would host a week long coin-drive at the School. We raised $400 to gift to Gilcrease Elementary school students and children at Counseling and Recovery Services of Tulsa this Christmas!! Way to go students! I am so proud of the students for working so hard on this project and making great strides in learning real life situations.

Ms. Carby's class at Gilcrease Elementary School.