All in a Day’s Work

All in a Day’s Work

CRA Description : 
After researching the cost to attend a local community college, students will analyze two summer job scenarios to determine which scenario will net enough money to pay for a semester of college. One scenario will involve working at a fast food restaurant near home for a set number of hours per week at a constant wage per hour, while the second scenario will involve travel costs to a distant location for a weekly wage. Finding the solution will involve writing a linear function for each job scenario and then analyzing the system of functions to determine which job scenario is the best choice. Finally, students will weigh other real-world factors into their decision of which job offer to accept.
Algebra I
Key Concepts and Terms: 
Constant Rate of Change
Federal Witholding
Gross Wages
Linear Relationship and/or Linear Function
Net Wages/Earnings
Point of Intersection
Prior Knowledge: 
Students should be able to construct tables, graphs, and equations that depict a linear relationship, and translate information from one algebraic representation to another. Students should be able to identify a constant (or fixed) value and a constant rate of change from multiple algebraic representations, including a verbal description. Students must realize the connections between linear equations and the patterns found in the tables and graphs of those equations (e.g., constant rate of change, slope, and y-intercepts). They should be able to solve linear equations and inequalities and understand the connections between solutions to systems of linear equations and their various representations. They should also be able to interpret the solution to a system of equations within the context of a real-world situation.


Submitted by mmccarth (not verified) on

My favorite thing about "All in a Day's Work" is the practicality of the activity.  Though frequently flawed, students have some understanding of wages, bills, and money.  They love thinking about being independent and making choices.  This activity integrates personal finance, career planning, and math in personally relevant ways.  Modifications might accommodate students who don't plan to go to college (making a budget based on various incomes), tailoring financial information/expenses to different geographic locations, or allowing for different presentation methods.

Submitted by elukasik (not verified) on

This activity can help students identify why and when they would use linear equations in a real-world situation. Many students have started to focus on the cost of certain things, like college, transportation. Your job can affect the types of things that you can get. This activity combines the math concepts they need, and presents it in an accessible way for both college and career focused students. When I present this activity to my students, I will include the option to research a career technical school or some type of career specific training program. 

Submitted by NikLee33 (not verified) on

All in a Day's Work continues the K-8 focus on Personal Financial Literacy.  Engagement in learning should be at a high level with this application of linear functions in a student-centered, interesting context.  This lesson may also be appropriate for the proposed one-semester, high school course, Personal Financial Literacy which will be available in the near future.  I appreciate the required research to allow students to gather data and apply to a real-world situation - planning for college or a career.

Submitted by Beth.Loughry@re... (not verified) on

Great info on the Personal Financial Literacy course!  I'm glad you brought up the matter of college and career readiness with this CRA.  What do you think about financial literacy in terms of college vs. career readiness?  And how about one's ability to gather and interpret data?

Submitted by Hillary Procknow on