Raising the federal minimum wage is always a controversial issue. On one hand, workers earn higher income. On the other hand, as labor becomes more expensive, companies may not be able to employ as many people. The potential for higher income levels and lower employment have important effects on the economy as a whole.

In this lesson students graph and solve systems of linear equations in order to examine the effects of wage levels on labor and consumer markets, and they discuss the possible pros and cons of increasing the minimum wage.

Students will

Given employment and job-seeker levels for two different wages, write and graph a system of linear equations representing labor supply and demand

Solve a system of linear equations in order to determine equilibrium wage and employment level

Discuss the impact of a minimum wage above equilibrium level on the labor market

Discuss the pros and cons of raising the federal minimum wage

Before you begin

Students should be able to write the equation of a line given two points. They should also be able to solve a system of two linear equations graphically, algebraically, or using technology.

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Building Functions (BF), Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)

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Building Functions (BF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE), Seeing Structure in Expressions (SSE)

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Creating Equations (CED), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE), Seeing Structure in Expressions (SSE)

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Building Functions (BF), Creating Equations (CED), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)

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Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)

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Building Functions (BF), Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (ID), Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)

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Building Functions (BF), Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE), Seeing Structure in Expressions (SSE)

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Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE), Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities (REI)

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Topic:
Building Functions (BF), Creating Equations (CED), Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)

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Mathalicious lessons provide teachers with an opportunity to teach standards-based math through real-world topics that students care about.

How have video game console speeds changed over time? Students write an exponential function based on the Atari 2600 and Moore's Law, and see whether the model was correct for subsequent video game consoles.

Topic:
Building Functions (BF), Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (ID), Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)

Do social networks like Facebook make us more connected? Students create a quadratic function to model the number of possible connections as a network grows, and consider the consequences of relying on Facebook for news and information.

Topic:
Building Functions (BF), Creating Equations (CED), Interpreting Functions (IF)