ALEX Lesson Plan


How Much Money Can I Make?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Jeremy King
System: Baldwin County
School: Foley Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 8043


How Much Money Can I Make?


This lesson is a technology-based activity in which students will research two careers they are possibly interested in pursuing. They will convert the average yearly salary of each career into an hourly wage and record their findings in a spreadsheet. They will calculate their weekly gross and net pay for each career choice.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (6-8)
5. Use basic features of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
Examples: word processing—reports, letters, brochures
spreadsheets—discovering patterns, tracking spending, creating budgets
databases—contact list of addresses and telephone numbers
presentation software—slideshow
TC2 (6-8)
6. Select specific digital tools for completing curriculum-related tasks.
Examples: spreadsheet for budgets, word processing software for essays, probes for data collection
TC2 (6-8)
7. Demonstrate correct keyboarding techniques.
TC2 (6-8)
9. Practice responsible and legal use of technology systems and digital content.
Examples: avoiding plagiarism; complying with acceptable-use policies, copyright laws, and fair use standards; recognizing secure Web sites
  • Identifying examples of computer crime and related penalties
  • Examples: computer crime—phishing, spoofing, virus and worm dissemination, cyberbullying
    penalties—fines, incarceration
  • Citing sources of digital content
  • TC2 (6-8)
    11. Use digital tools and strategies to locate, collect, organize, evaluate, and synthesize information.
    Examples: locating—Boolean searches, graphic organizers, spreadsheets, databases
    collecting—probeware, graphing calculators
    organizing—graphic organizers, spreadsheets
    evaluating—reviewing publication dates, determining credibility
    synthesizing—word processing software, concept-mapping software
    TC2 (6-8)
    13. Use digital tools to formulate solutions to authentic problems.
    Examples: electronic graphing tools, probes, spreadsheets
    MA2015 (6)
    5. Fluently divide multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm. [6-NS2]
    MA2015 (6)
    6. Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. [6-NS3]
    MA2015 (7)
    1. Compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, including ratios of lengths, areas, and other quantities measured in like or different units. [7-RP1]
    MA2015 (7)
    2. Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. [7-RP2]
    a. Decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, e.g., by testing for equivalent ratios in a table or graphing on a coordinate plane and observing whether the graph is a straight line through the origin. [7-RP2a]
    b. Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships. [7-RP2b]
    c. Represent proportional relationships by equations. [7-RP2c]
    Example: If total cost t is proportional to the number n of items purchased at a constant price p, the relationship between the total cost and the number of items can be expressed as t = pn.
    d. Explain what a point (x, y) on the graph of a proportional relationship means in terms of the situation, with special attention to the points (0, 0) and (1, r) where r is the unit rate. [7-RP2d]
    MA2015 (7)
    3. Use proportional relationships to solve multistep ratio and percent problems. [7-RP3]
    Examples: Sample problems may involve simple interest, tax, markups and markdowns, gratuities and commissions, fees, percent increase and decrease, and percent error.
    MA2015 (7)
    4. Apply and extend previous understandings of addition and subtraction to add and subtract rational numbers; represent addition and subtraction on a horizontal or vertical number line diagram. [7-NS1]
    a. Describe situations in which opposite quantities combine to make 0. [7-NS1a]
    Example: A hydrogen atom has 0 charge because its two constituents are oppositely charged.
    b. Understand p + q as the number located a distance |q| from p, in the positive or negative direction depending on whether q is positive or negative. Show that a number and its opposite have a sum of 0 (are additive inverses). Interpret sums of rational numbers by describing real-world contexts. [7-NS1b]
    c. Understand subtraction of rational numbers as adding the additive inverse, p - q = p + (-q). Show that the distance between two rational numbers on the number line is the absolute value of their difference, and apply this principle in real-world contexts. [7-NS1c]
    d. Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract rational numbers. [7-NS1d]
    MA2015 (7)
    6. Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations with rational numbers. (Computations with rational numbers extend the rules for manipulating fractions to complex fractions.) [7-NS3]

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will describe how a person's gross and net wages are determined. Students will identify different types of taxes and deductions that are taken from a person's paycheck. Students will use a spreadsheet to find gross and net wages. Students will convert percents to decimals and demonstrate computational fluency of operations with decimals.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Students will compare career choices based on salary.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Textbook or workbook assignment to coincide with lesson.

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer lab with Internet access, spreadsheet software such as Excel


    View the website in Step One of the Procedures/Activities section. This is where students will be getting their information about careers. On the day before the lesson, give students the homework assignment of thinking about two or three careers they think they might be interested in pursuing. Discuss a standard work week with students. For the purpose of this lesson, assume that everyone will be working a 40-hour week. Teacher should understand how to write formulas in a spreadsheet. All formulas in Excel, for example, must start with an equal sign.

    1.)The students should access the Occupational Outlook Handbook index page.
    (Occupational Outlook Handbook)
    This website is an index page of occupations.

    2.)Students should search the website to find information on the nature of the two careers that they have chosen to research. They will need to select the earnings tab to find income information.

    3.)In the earnings section students will find wages for career they have selected. The goal of this lesson is to find gross and net incomes for a specific career. Each job might display the earning in a different format. To make sure that everyone is on the same track, tell students that they will be finding a weekly pay schedule based on hours per week. If they find the salary in yearly or monthly amounts, show them how to convert these figures to weekly amounts. Once they have the weekly amounts, they will need to divide them by 40 to get the amount per hour. Make sure students understand that the salaries given are averages for the profession and are not going to be exact.

    4.)Have the students open the spreadsheet program. Have them enter the following headings for the given cells:
    A1: Weekly Income for a(n) _______,
    A3: Hours Worked,
    B3: Hourly Pay,
    C3: Gross Pay,
    D3: FICA,
    E3: FWT,
    F3: State Tax, and
    G3: Net Pay.
    Have them double click the bar between each column (located above row one) to automatically align the column spacing. Then, highlight cells 3A through 4G and select the center tab from the menu bar.

    5.)Have the students center the title, "Weekly Income for a(n) _______," in A1 across the spreadsheet. If using Excel, have them highlight cells A1 through G1, and then select the "merge and center" icon.

    6.)Instruct students to make each category bold by highlighting cells A3 through G3 and selecting the "bold" icon.

    7.)The students need to enter the information they found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook into the spreadsheet. The hours worked will be 40 and the hourly pay will be the amount that they found on the website. Input the hours worked into A4 and the hourly pay into B4.

    8.)In cell C4, have students enter the formula to multiply A4 by B4 (=A4*B4) in order to find gross pay.

    9.)Write the amount of each tax on the board for the students. For the purpose of this exercise, use the following fictional percentages or the teacher might research to find the exact percentages for each tax. (10% for the Federal Withholding Tax (FWT), 3% for the Social Security Tax (FICA), and 5.5% for the State Tax can be used.)

    10.)Have students convert the percentages to decimals.

    11.)In cell D4, the students are to enter the formula to multiply the gross pay(C4) by the percent of the FICA ( 0.03)(=C4*0.03). In cell E4, have the students enter the formula to multiply the gross pay (C4) by the percent of the FWT(0.1)(=C4*0.10). In cell F4, have the students enter the formula to multiply the gross pay(C4) by the percent of State Tax(0.055)(=C4*0.055).

    12.)In cell G4, have students enter the formula to subtract each tax from the gross pay (C4) to find the net pay. (=C4-D4-E4-F4)

    13.)Tell students to format the cells which represent currency. They should highlight the cells (B4-G4), then select "cells" from the "Format" menu. Select the number tab and choose currency.

    14.)To enter information for the second career choice, have students highlight cells A1 through G4, then select copy. Next, highlight cells A9 through 12G, then select paste. Students may then change the heading in cell A9 and the hourly pay in cell 12B to correspond with the second career choice. The gross pay, taxes withheld, and net pay should all change to reflect the new hourly wage.

    15.)Ask each student to type his name, date, period, etc. into specified cells below the data. They will then save the file with their name as the title as followed by "paycheck." Have students print their spreadsheets.


    Assessment Strategies

    Students will print their spreadsheets on lab printer for assessment. Traditional formative and summative assesments are also appropriate.


    Students can move down one row in the spreadsheet and find the gross and the net pay with new percentages.



    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
    Variations Submitted by ALEX Users: