Why do different jobs pay so differently? top-paid teacher earns in a year. On one hand, this seems unfair. On the other hand...it still seems unfair. But there’s a reason some jobs pay so much better than others.

In this lesson, students use unit rates to compare how much different professions make per year/day/hour and discuss ways to possibly equate compensation with social contribution.

Students will

  • Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real world problems
  • Calculate daily and hourly unit rates
  • However, in other professions that generate value for society at large – e.g. a teacher increases students’ future earnings, the President boosts economic performance – that value is often not reflected in compensation.

Before you begin

Students will find rates throughout this lesson. If they aren't familiar with the concept of a unit rate, they can reason their way through answers; simply adjust the timings to allow for lots of discussion of the mathematical reasoning.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices


All the teachers getting paid a fraction of the value they create.