Linear Equations in the Real World

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What is the optimal quantity of a product to manufacture? Which cell phone plan offers the most data and minutes at the best price? Junior IB students at Roberto Clemente Community Academy will be answering these and other questions by modelling linear equations and systems of equations.

Students will be working on creating data presentations that display how linear functions model various economic scenarios: purchasing a home or a car, calculating cell phone or cable bills, and more. In addition to analyzing their data, students will need to present their findings visually and mathematically and discuss with their peers.

Students will examine how the cost of popular rideshare apps (like Uber or Lyft) or traditional cab services compare to each other: at what price points is one service a better deal? By studying maps and graphs, students will recognize the different aspects that must be taken into consideration while making such transportation choices.

Previously, students have studied foundational algebra topics, including functions and solving for variables. As this unit continues, students will build upon their existing knowledge and skills in order to analyze how linear functions can be represented in various ways, through tables, graphs, and equations.

In addition to real-life scenarios, students are exploring algebra in this unit through various websites and technology tools. This week, students have used Desmos to analyze linear equations and their resulting graphs. In the coming weeks, students will be using other websites as well as graphing calculators and traditional pencil and paper to graph linear equations. Through their work, students will gain a better understanding of the various ways in which algebra is present in the economic and social decisions we make daily.