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Should people with small feet pay less for shoes? When you buy deli meat, the more you get, the more you pay. This isn’t the case with shoes, though. A pair of sneakers costs the same in size 6 as in size 12, even though it has less material.

In this lesson, students use unit rates to calculate how much different-sized shoes cost per ounce and debate the fairest way for manufacturers to charge for their shoes.

Students will

  • Calculate unit rate ($/oz) for various sized shoes and discuss how the cost per ounces changes as size changes
  • For a given cost per ounce, calculate how much different size shoes would cost if Nike charged by weight
  • Discuss advantages and disadvantages of alternative pricing schemes

Before you begin

It may be helpful if students know how to calculate a unit rate, e.g. use the price and weight to calculate the cost per ounce ($/oz), though this is not necessary. In fact, you can easily use this lesson to introduce unit rates: both how to calculate them and why they're useful. Students should also be familiar with how to plot points on the coordinate plane.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices


Zappos and their killer return policy!