For Teachers

Examples of Business Math Lesson Plans for High Schoolers

By The Room 241 Team January 31, 2013

Developing business math lesson plans for high school students should not be taken lightly. After all, in today’s tough economy and tight job market, financial literacy is as important as being able to read and write.

Business math lesson plans are vital to students’ well-being because the plans help students become knowledgeable about investing, planning a financial future, managing credit and making major purchases. And financial literacy extends beyond personal finances. Small businesses, an essential part of our national economy, fail by the thousands every year because their owners lack basic business math skills.

Why business math matters

Many people believe that starting a small business is about having a passion for the products or services offered. Artists want to create art; doctors want to heal people. But business owners also need to make informed choices about financing, payroll, property management, zoning laws, insurance carriers, employment laws and dozens of other complex issues. By teaching business math in our high schools, we are giving students the tools they need to be successful business owners in the future.

Business math lesson plans

When teaching business math at the high school level, it is important to engage your students. You want their financial accounting homework to be at least as interesting to them as that cool experiment their science teacher gave them, or as diverting as rehearsing for the school play. Consider these three lesson plans that business math high school students won’t shy away from.

  • Setting up shop. Center this lesson plan on starting a small business. Using the Internet as a resource let your students start their own business plans. Focusing on the physical aspects of their new business, have them determine how much square footage their shop will need, what the monthly rental costs will be and whether zoning laws will affect their plans.
  • Show me the money. This lesson can build naturally out of the previous one. Once your students have chosen a small business and found a place to run it, they will need financing. This lesson can center on what it takes to get a loan, what kind of assistance may be available to them through the Small Business Administration, and how much profit their businesses will have to clear each day to successfully repay the loans they have taken out.
  • Get the word out. Advertising is an important part of any company. Gone are the days when the local newspaper was the only outlet for advertising a business. With the Internet, there are thousands of possibilities. Have your students research all their advertising options and compare the costs with the expected returns. Help them think outside the box; advertising today can include social media, smart phone apps and email campaigns.

Design your own

Here are a few other things to keep in mind when designing your own high school business math lesson plans.

  • Keep it relevant. If your students can see a direct correlation to the lessons they are learning and their own future plans, they are more likely to be engaged. And studies have shown, according to the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), that the more involved students are in the classroom, the more they learn. When you plan lessons, choose business models that will appeal to teenagers. Make your example business a tattoo shop, for instance, or an Internet cafe or any business that your students would find fascinating in the real world.
  • Take a hands-off approach. While you will have definite learning goals for your classroom, let your students make as many choices about their studies as possible. Instead of telling them that they will need a payroll, an accounting system and loans to start a business, let them brainstorm and discover these necessary components themselves. When they have seen the need for each of these themselves, finding ways to solve them will be a fun challenge.
  • Tie everything together. When handing out financial accounting homework, make sure it relates directly to your students’ original interests. If they can see the relevance of their homework, they will be much more likely to learn and to retain that knowledge.

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