Addressing The Effects of Minimum Wage Through Collaborative Conversation

Juliana Lobraco


Step by Step Instructions

  1. To start the lesson, students will watch a short introductory video that covers a general background about minimum wage and how it is implemented in society.
  2. Students will use the two texts, the Iowa Occupational Employment and the Minimum Wages per state in the U.S ( ) websites, to analyze and gather information about the state’s (Iowa) minimum wage and the average wages per existing occupation in Iowa rounded to the nearest dollar.
  3. Students will be divided into groups of four, and each student will choose an occupation from the Iowa Occupational Employment website. They will show their analysis when completing the class Jamboard activity. Instructions for the group analysis include:
  4. Gathering what the occupation responsibilities are and the average hourly wage.
  5. Finding the ordered pairs between time (hours worked) and earnings (money made) rounded to the nearest dollar for their chosen Iowa occupation for one eight-hour work day and post them on their group’s jamboard.
  6. Once students have finished this task individually for their occupation, the group will collaboratively discuss their findings, moving from person to person and identify the independent and dependent variables, and post those to the jam board page (see section two of the Jamboard handout)
  7. Each group will then be given a large sheet of graphing paper to plot their points on the x and y axis, which correspond to the independent and dependent variables of time and earnings.
  8. The four students will draw all four different wage lines on the same graph paper and collectively analyze each other’s data. Students will collaboratively discuss and write an equation of the line pertaining to the relationship between time and earnings for their occupation.
  9. Students will compare these results to the linear line corresponding to the Iowa minimum wage on the jam board activity.
  10. Throughout the collaborative conversation strategy suited to the Jamboard, groups will use their critical thinking and comprehension to depict their observations about the relationships between hourly wage and the growth of each linear line.
  11. From these observations, students will be able to focus on the sociopolitical issue of minimum wage by noting the growth differences of income that pertain to the population of Iowa residents. Furthermore, students will focus on how minimum wage affects how fast or slow people are able to simply afford the cost of living, which can also link to poverty.
  12. Students will resonate with how the shapes of the linear graphs pertain to the social issue of minimum wage by considering the amount of time it may take for one occupation to earn applicable earnings over another. This is a sociopolitical issue because minimum wage creates an aspect of inequality of income for those who are working minimum wage jobs.
  13. During the collaborative jam board discussion/activity, the teacher will walk around the room to answer any questions and promote participation from all members of each group.
Video Demonstration

About the author

I am from Bloomingdale, IL, and grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Throughout my educational experience in this area, I grew to love the principles of mathematics and found myself enjoying learning math from the many supportive and optimistic teachers I encountered. Many of my educators encouraged me to believe in myself and fostered an applicable classroom environment that my peers and I enjoyed being part of. My high school educators are the ones that inspired me most to become a math teacher. They made math class super fun and interesting and besides the content, showed me that they truly cared about my success both inside and outside the classroom! I hope that one day I can make a difference in a students life and provide them with the same support and encouragement that I received throughout my education.