I just finished my first week of teaching Algebra 2 ever. On one of the first days, I wanted to dive in and do math, but I didn’t want to intimidate my students so early in the year. Julie Reulbach gave me the great idea of reviewing percents by looking at Apple Computers.

I handed out the sheet I created with no other instructions or introduction than they could work with a partner to figure out the answers.

The worksheet I created explored the 13-inch MacBook Pro. First, I had students find the tax on the computer and then justify how they found it.

Next, we looked at the price of the 13-inch MacBook Pro compared to the price of the same computer from the Apple Education Store. Students had to find the percent discount.

Third, students had to apply that percent discount to the cost of the 15 inch Macbook Pro to figure out what education price would be.

This is where the conversation became interesting. After everyone was finished, I revealed the actual education price of the Macbook. They were outraged!!! The price was about $100 more than they calculated it should be!!!

This then prompted the question “Do you think this happens for every Apple Product?”

Each group then picked an Apple product. We looked at Macbook Air, Ipads, and Imacs (I have a class of 8 students).

Students picked what size they first wanted to look at and then found the percent discount from the original price to the education price. Once they found the percent decrease they wrote their percent on the board. They then looked up a different size of the same product to see if they discount remained the same!

This lead into a discussion about which product receives the biggest discount and why. Also what we thought affected the discount, and how sales aren’t always as straightforward as they seem.

This was a fun, easy, and real-world lesson that helped students review percents without sitting through a review lesson or by doing practice problems.

We did go over the worksheet to address any class misconceptions before we broke out to look up different products. Originally, many students found the percent tax by finding the tax and then adding it to the original. This was a great opportunity to introduce original(1+percent) which they see for growth and decay later in the chapter.