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I've designed a few applied problems with business analytics/money calculations. However, I'm not sure which age (or rather, which grade) are those best to introduce.

  • on one hand, solution uses only + - * / and percents
  • on the other hand, cognitive load is high, because too many word concepts are laid out together
  • they also contain uncertainty, there is not enough information for precise solution, so it requires introducing variables/parameters/assumptions

I really tried to model business and money stuff.

So which grade do those exercises best belong to?


  1. The company XXX spent 300_000 UAH and developed an online MMO game. All the users are predicted to pay cumulatively $10_000 each month. How many months is required for game to pay off?

  2. The company XXX doesn't get all the money users pay it. 30% takes the market place (Apple Store or Google Play), 18% are taxed by govt, it also has to compensate 70_000 UAH/month to each of 2 programmers. Now, when would game pay off?

  3. 30_000 users in-game cumulatively pay \$10000 per month. How many users should you buy additionally, so you have enough money for Lexus RX 350 credit (600_000 UAH)? You can buy users at Instagram for \$1 per user.

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    $\begingroup$ I can't understand the English in these exercises. If the language of instruction is your native language, then presumably the problem is just that you're having trouble translating these into English to post here, and that won't be an issue in your actual instructional situation. But if you're writing these problems for kids who are English speakers, then be aware that you have a serious language barrier. $\endgroup$
    – user507
    Jul 18 at 22:14
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For gifted students, you could do them from algebra on. Say starting at grade 9 (1age 14). In some ways, they are very similar to the sorts of applied algebra that are involved in chemistry (but still seem to challenge university students...word problems are hard!)

Conceptually even earlier, you could use them, from grad 6 (11). I would just watch out, that the kids are pretty sharp and have the time. And maybe make it fun somehow, competition or something.

I would not use these with middle or lower track kids, though (ever).

And I would use them more as an enrichment, challenge. Not replacing more regular and immediate drill work.

P.s. Just my gut feel, not a teacher.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 : "but still seem to challenge university students...word problems are hard!" $\endgroup$ Jul 20 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree that "middle track kids" could not get this. At an algebra 1 level, these are high-quality questions (if the language barrier is addressed, anyway), that give a context to what they are learning. Now, I would not make these test questions, but I would perhaps assign them as a "project" or an extended activity with some teacher guidance. But it is absolutely appropriate that all students get exposure to "how math is used in the real world" which is much more messy than the tidy "word problems" we give them. $\endgroup$
    – Opal E
    Jul 20 at 23:51

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