I’m excited to share with you some ideas for tax, tips, and discount activities for your math classroom. If you are looking for ideas on how to plan for this topic, read more here. This is a great topic for activities because it is a real world topic from top to bottom. And 7th grade students get great review with proportions in real world applications. The activities that I share in this post are excellent for independent practice, bell ringers, anticipatory sets, homework, math centers, etc.
Here is the list of 8 tax, tips, and discount activities:
- Shmoop Video about Percents
- Paper Chain
- Math at the Mall from Math Playground
- Task Cards
- Percents Video from Math Bites
I love to use videos for anticipatory sets. If you find the right videos and have students looking for one thing, or answering one focus question, during the video they can be engaging. It is a great way to get students keyed in at the beginning of the day’s lesson. My go to site with a wide range of videos and a little bit of silliness is Shmoop.com.
This free video shows some examples of percents and in my class we organically started a conversation about credit cards. Most of my 7th graders knew nothing about credit cards and how they work,so it was cool to see the look on their faces when they realized how much more they have to pay for something on a credit card.
Lately, the question I have been asking my students during videos is, “What is the central idea of this video?” My wife teaches language arts at the same school as me and I know that students struggle with finding the central idea. So, this gives me a way to help out with improving language arts skills.
This video is 5:30 and has a lot of information about percents. The video is one in a series from Danica McKellar who played Winnie in the Wonder Years. This is a quirky video mixed with some math concepts. Also, it features a woman mathematician which I think is great to show girls that math is for girls, too. This works as an activity at the beginning of class and will activate students’ prior knowledge.
I love having students work in partners. Students are so much more engaged when they work in partners and if you train them right they will help each other. When I was first a teacher I was reluctant to let them talk to each other, but I have learned how to leverage their enthusiasm for talking to help them learn. Here are a couple of tax, tips, and discounts activities for you to try out with your students:
I love paper chains. When I first heard about them I was skeptical. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me why they needed to make a chain, but then I did this activity with students. Students put the answers in order and it gets students working together. After they put all the questions in order they get it checked. Finally, they put the chain together. It doesn’t take that long and we have a trophy of sorts to show their learning. Don’t knock it until you try it.
Math at the mall online game
This is a free game from Math Playground. I have the students play this in partners because they are more likely to keep each other accountable. This is just a cute and engaging way to get students to do some real world practice. The questions are good and students love getting to play a game. They answer questions and collect gold coins. This could be used as a fast finisher tax, tips, and discount activity.
There are so many things that you can do with task cards and my favorite is having students work in partners. I always use self-checking task cards because it gives students the opportunity to think about their mistakes. Our task cards are scaffolded and move up from one level to the next as you go. You can read about how we scaffold lessons on this post.
Independent Tax, Tips, and Discounts Activities
This is a set of three mazes about finding tax, tips, and discounts. I like to use them as a bell ringer after the students have gotten a hand of it. These particular mazes have two mazes where they are just finding the tax, tip, or discount and the last maze they have to find the total after tax, etc. Also, they work great as a review activity later in the year. Students are so engaged with them and they are so much less intimidating than a regular worksheet. We basically do a maze everyday in my class.
This is an online quiz maker that turns questions into a fun game. Students can race against each other and earn points. They like it a lot. One thing that I love about this site is how many quizzes have already been made for you. I usually search for the topic I want and scroll through a lot of options. Next, I chose one and make a duplicate. After that you can customize it to your needs and set it to play. All you have to do is give your students a code and they can play. Click here for example 1 and click here for example 2. Try this and I promise your students will like it. This works great for a quick formative assessment or a quick homework assignment.
Whole class game to review tax, tip, and discount
Most of the time we review before a test with a whole class game. It gives me one last chance to see how they are doing and to fix any misconceptions that are still out there.
There are a variety of whole class games that I like and for this topic we played one from Scaffolded Math and Science. It was a great way for the students to review. We were crunched for time so we didn’t get through all of the questions. The questions consisted of easy to hard difficulty questions. I would suggest to first show students the unique way Jeopardy questions are asked because some of my kids got confused about that format. It was fun and I got to see exactly what they could and couldn’t do.
Wrapping it up
This unit engaged my students and they had a lot of fun with the different activities. I hope that you can find some of these ideas useful and adapt them to your classroom.
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