4.3: Taxes & Tips
This activity is intended to supplement Algebra I, Chapter 3, Lesson 7.
ID: 11356
Time Required: 15 minutes
Activity Overview
In this activity, students will increase their understanding of the use of the formula
Topic: Linear Equations
- Percents
- Using formulas
- Estimation and mental math
Teacher Preparation and Notes
- This activity serves as a good introduction to using formulas that involve percentages.
- The student worksheet provides instructions and questions to guide inquiry and focus observations.
Associated Materials
- Student Worksheet: Taxes & Tips, http://www.ck12.org/flexr/chapter/9613, scroll down to the third activity.
Problem 1 – Percentage %
As the students divide their numbers by
Problem 2 – Using an Equation
Some students may not be aware of how the tax on an item is calculated. For this activity, the students will use the formula
The student activity gives some hypothetical prices for various items that may be of interest to them. Students will select three of these items.
First, students will use the calculator to find the taxes paid on three items listed on their worksheets and find the sum of those taxes. Remind students to round to
Second, students are to sum up the three individual prices and multiply this sum by the tax rate they chose to use in this example.
Students should see that these two amounts are almost the same, varying only by a penny.
Note that the amounts are almost the same because of the distribution property.
Note: Make sure the students have converted the tax rate to a non-percentage before finding the taxes paid.
Discussion questions:
Are there different tax rates for the state in which you live for products and services?
Examine a receipt from a store (other than a grocery store, since there is often no tax on food) and determine if the tax rate charged is correct.
Do an internet search of “sales tax by state” to find the real tax information from various states and use this information to compare the tax paid if the item was purchased in another state. (www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales.html).
Problem 3 – Mental math and estimating
The student worksheet gives an example of estimating
Students should see that the estimate in the example is a relatively good estimate because it is less than
If students’ estimates of
To estimate
Two ways to determine
a)
b)
Extension
To solve the problem, students should multiply the tax rate by
In some states, like Illinois, the tax rate is
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