Course Level/Topic: Beginning Algebra/Rates and Slope

Purpose: Students use the concept of the rate of depreciation in a real world situation to investigate the relationship between rate and slope.

Learning Goals:

  • Identify that slope of a line corresponds to a unit rate.
  • Convert real world data to points on a line.
  • Determine the equation of a line from its graph.
  • Using the equation of a graph, solve for both independent and dependent values in a real world setting.
Pre-requisite knowledge:

  • Determining the rate of change given two values
  • Graphing a line given two points
  • Finding the slope of a line given two points
  • Finding the equation of the line given the slope and y-intercept
Materials: Graph paper

Time Required: 30 to 40 minutes

Description: Students create ordered pairs, graph depreciating car values, and calculate rates of depreciation, then identify that the rate of depreciation = slope of the line. Using the equation they then solve for future values and times.


This lab addresses a topic of concern for the students and hence engages them.

This lab can be used as an in-class follow-up activity after students have been introduced to the concepts.

This activity makes a good Group Work, Homework, Take-Home Quiz, In-Class Activity

See also the Comments section for some suggested Follow Up activities.

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