Figuring out the best way to represent a financial situation often involves measurement and decisions about what to measure, how to measure it and in some cases the best units for measurement. Typical problem might include cost comparisons.

Highlighted Problem: Val’s Values

Amir: Hey Val, check out my cool new jacket!

Val: Another new jacket? Don’t you have to get a new one every year?

Amir: My jackets last about a year and a half. And each one only costs about $60. Isn’t your jacket one of those really expensive ones?

Val: It cost about $300, but I’ve had my jacket for 8 years so far. I bet you have paid more for jackets than I have.

A problem like this might generate reflective conversation about the realities of making purchasing decisions, for example: who would just have one jacket? we know that Val said she has had her jacket for 8 years but might it last her even longer? students might realize that they need new jackets because they are growing every year.  This is a problem that requires students to decide how to “mathematize” – i.e. how to make quantities they can compare, or compare the quantities they’re given. “Average price over time” is making up a made-up quantity, but it might be less work than making a table, drawing, or graph.

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