Monday, October 5, 2015

Linking Social Studies to Mathematics: Tax Commissioner

I have developed a business called, "SocialMatics." My vision with SocialMatics is to seamlessly link middle grades Social Studies and Mathematics concepts so that they do not appear as separate entities or separate subjects. My vision is to explicitly link the mathematics in social studies and to explicitly link the social studies in mathematics. My goal is to help students realize that most of the things they are learning in school ARE RELEVANT and they ARE INTER-CONNECTED!! Not only that, but I want them to think about jobs in careers that use social studies AND mathematics!!

For example, here in Georgia we have an 8th Grade Social Studies standard.

This standard requires students to IDENTIFY REVENUE SOURCES FOR AND SERVICES PROVIDED BY STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. Simple to understand right?! However, how can we connect this to mathematics??

With the adoption of Common Core, students learned about how to apply tax rates in 7th grade.

This standard requires students to USE PROPORTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS TO SOLVE MULTI-STEP RATIO AND PERCENT PROBLEMS!!

In a brief analysis of these two standards, they both mention the concept of taxes. As an adult it's easy to see the connection of these two standards but for an 11-13 year-old it might not be so obvious. That is the beauty of SocialMatics. We have intentionally brought together two seemingly unrelated disciplines for the purpose of bringing academic unity to the young self-centered, adolescent mind. Isn't it wonderful?!

For the record, there are a number of jobs and careers that are available in local/state governments and fortunately, quite a few of those jobs use mathematics in their daily routine. I've decided to focus on one job, which is a county Tax Commissioner!!!

From the office of a local Tax Commissioner, it is the mission of the Tax Commissioner’s office to collect and disburse all taxes due the State, County, and School System in a timely manner, while also providing excellent customer service with integrity and fairness for all. The Tax Commissioner has authority to bill, collect and disburse property taxes, and a Tax Commissioner should collect and receive public funds with honesty, integrity, grace and mercy. 

For those students who have exhibited mastery with proportional relationships you can remind them that they have developed an employable skill. Simple proficiency with taxes and tax rates can lead them to a great government job which can easily net them upwards of $80,000 depending the county!!! 

As teachers, we must find ways to be inter-disciplinary in our instruction. Collaborate with other teachers in your hallway. Find out what they're doing in their classrooms and deliberately try to connect what you're doing to what they're doing. It will provide a much more holistic learning experience for our students. Don't be afraid to speak about jobs in the midst of these conversations. If our goal is to make them College and Career Ready, we need to spend a lot more time on the "Career Ready" aspect!!

Yup!!


 

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