When Will We Ever Use This?

Students and adults alike often ask "when are we ever going to use this?" when talking about mathematics.  Well as a math teacher that represents TMSA, I am here to tell you that it is used everywhere! If you like to shop and get good deals then knowing how to spend money and the mathematics behind it come in very handy!

When markup, tax and discount were introduced to my students in math class, I can say that they were not overcome with joy.  The thought of doing lots of word problems that deal with imaginary people buying imaginary items and calculating the tax or discount rates for those problems did not seem to highlight the importance of knowing how to do it.  It is hard for students to see the value of this kind of math because most in 5th to 7th grade haven't had a job, known what it is like to spend hard earned money, and had to make sure they are not getting ripped off when buying items in the real world.  What better way to learn something than to do it!  Students were posed with questions they had to answer and could earn "money" for each correct answer (I mean school is their job so for a day they got paid for doing it well).  With the money they earned they were aloud to go shopping for all kinds of toys, school supplies, candies, snacks and drinks.  We all had a blast with this in class activity and best of all they got a small taste of math in the real world!