Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's My Total?

Amanda Yates
Polk County Schools


This lesson teaches students how to calculate the total cost of an evening out. A student leads his/her peers in this activity.


Develops a budget and makes decisions required for achieving a balanced project budget.


-Dry erase board
-Markers for student volunteers
-A copy of the checklist to assess the student teacher (associated file)
-A copy of the checklist for assessing students (one for each student)
-Copy of procedures for the student leader to use while teaching the lesson


1. Meet with the student leader, who will teach the lesson and show him/her the procedures. Have him/her practice and ask any questions.
2. Set up a space for working out the problems.
3. Gather the materials listed in the materials section. (Make sure you print out the checklists from the file.)


1. Choose a student to lead this activity. Meet with that student prior to the lesson and talk with him or her about what to do to teach the lesson.

2. The student tells the class that he is going to show them how to plan ahead for an evening out with friends or a special someone.

3. He asks the students to tell him what things they might want to spend their money on for a fun night out.

4. Then, he lists those items on the board.

5. Next, he tells them that they only have $50.00 to spend.

6. Now, he has them raise their hands to vote for the 3 top items.

7. He marks through out the other items that are not choosen.

8. He takes the 3 items that were choosen and gives estimates for the cost of each. For example, the students chose dinner, a movie, and another stop for dessert. (or the teacher can give estimates) He lists "dinner-$25 a movie-$15 dessert-$10."

9. He then asks the students if they would have enough money for all the things that they want to do.

10. The students should then answer, "yes."

11. He then exclaims, "You forgot about some other costs. What about sales tax and the tip for your meal? Let's figure out what our total really is."

12. The teacher writes dinner-$25 and multiples it by .07 on the board. He then takes the answer and adds it to $25. (Model this process step by step both on the board and aloud.If students can use calculators, review the steps and allow them to use the calculators, then record the totals.) Tell the students to work out the tax for the movie and the dessert. Circlulate and offer assistance.

13. He calls on students to come up and show their work. Give feedback and allow time for corrections.

14. Now, he repeats the process with figuring out the tip for dinner. (You may need to explain about 15% as a general amount and show how to calculate it on a $25.00 dinnter.)

15. Then, he gives the students their assignment. They must plan a night out and only spend $50. They need to show how much is spent on each item and include 7% sales tax and a tip for meals out. They need to show their work. (You may need to help students estimate the cost of the items they purchase or services they use. For instance, going to a school game would be based on your area. In addition, you may wish to vary the amount of the evening budget based on your students' economic situations.)

16. The teacher checks the students' work and give positive/corrective feedback by using the checklist provided (look in file section).

17. The teacher asseses and offers feedback to the student teacher on his presentation and preparation by using the rubric provided (look in file section).


Collect the proposed budgets and expenditures, and check to make sure students calculated the totals correctly and did not go over their allotted budget. Use the checklists from the associated file section for specific criteria.


-This lesson can be used with ESE students as part of a unit on management.
-Students can cut out items from the classifieds and figure out how much tax they save by not purchasing the items from a store.
-This lesson could also be adapted by allowing students who struggle with math calculations, to use calculators.

Web Links

This site gives amounts that should be tipped for various services. Click the tipping card to see/print an enlarged version for students or to display during the lesson.
Tips for Tipping

Attached Files

This file contains the checklists for assessment.     File Extension: pdf

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