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Should the government increase the minimum wage? Millions of people earn hourly wages at fast-food restaurants, but it can be difficult to determine how much to pay. On one hand, the more a restaurant pays, the more people will want to work there. On the other hand, the fewer employees the restaurant will want to hire.

In this lesson, students use systems of linear equations to explore the relationship between wage and labor, analyze the economics of fast-food restaurants, and debate whether the federal government should increase the minimum wage.

Students will

• Given a table of values, calculate the change in y per change in x (i.e. the slope); interpret the slope in context
• Solve a system of linear equations
• Interpret the solution of a system, and the space on either side, in a real-world context

Before you begin

Students should be comfortable calculating the slope of a line; they do not need to be familiar with systems of equations prior to the lesson.