Education Technology

Exploring Income Growth in the United States

Published on 10/20/2009

Activity Overview

Students will explore annual average per capita income data for the U.S., New York State, the District of Columbia, and Louisiana. Income data from 1990 to 2005 will be used to develop mathematical models to describe growth patterns and to make predictions about future income growth.

Before the Activity

Load the incomes.tns file onto all student calculators. The incomet.tns file is for the teacher to be able to view the results the students should obtain as they work through this activity.

A worksheet file, incomews.doc is also available with this activity.

During the Activity

The instructor should direct students to open the incomes.tns file. Once students have opened the file, the teacher should monitor students, assisting them as they work through the steps provided. Students may answer the questions on the associated worksheet.

After the Activity

This activity should be followed with discussion regarding expectations for future growth. While recent years have shown such growth, it may be helpful to find similar data for the depression era to help students see that such growth might not be reasonable over extended periods of time.
Collect the student questions and/or .tns files from the handhelds and assess them for understanding.

Follow up with a similar activity, providing somewhat decreased instruction to check for understanding of the process and concepts involved. A good way to do this might involve having the students choose another set of data, possibly recession or depression era data, and make comparisons. There are many great sources of data available through internet sources, which make the possibilities for this type of exploration virtually endless.