This was exactly the sort of math challenge I wanted for my students who think that school is full of math problems they can zip their way through. It’s easy! (insert evil teacher cackle) Ha, ha . . . Nope! It’s not now!
This little project takes grit and persistence, creativity, graphic design skills, and math skills. It’s real-life and hands-on, and will take several hours to complete.
Level: Super tough for GATE 4th grade. Right on for GATE 5th grade. On target for advanced 6th and 7th grade.
Time: About 8 hours, depending . . .
My 5th graders wanted this to be a snap. They’re used to all this easy stuff, right? It looked cute and fun. Instead, they were scratching their heads as they tried to design the tags to specifications. They had to organize and interpret as they determined costs. They had to learn new skills. How the heck do you even find the area of a trapezoid . . . let alone draw one to specifications? How do you calculate a discount? Pay taxes? You gotta be kidding me! On top of this, they had to keep all the numbers organized and accurate for the accounting. The end result was satisfying, but it wasn’t easy getting there.
In this math project for GATE or advanced upper elementary and 6th and 7th grade, students design desktop nametags to fit specifications, choose from companies which will print the nametags, figure costs, receive “sales” based on their performance on a grading rubric, and then make a tax payment to the United States Treasury. Bonus activities further analyze income taxes. And, oh yeah . . . writing mathematically and logically is required!
Included are ready-to-print activity sheets, explanations, samples, a rubric, Common Core Math standards, and practically everything you’ll need to get going on this project tomorrow. Materials required are commonly found around the classroom or in the art room.