Feb 20, 2022

Math Monday: Use Desmos to Explore State and Local Tax Rates

In DESMOS: Exploring State and Local Tax Rates, students practice reading stacked bar graphs while comparing how taxes vary from state to state. This activity is a part of Lesson 1.4: Types of Taxes in the Financial Algebra course


Part 1: Average State and Local Taxes

First, student analyze the national average for how much people pay in state and local taxes, including income, sales, and property taxes. They make observations about the graph and answer four self-checking questions.

As a teacher, you can monitor students’ progress using the teacher dashboard, which includes a warning if a student attempts a self-checking question more than three times. 


Part 2: How Does Your State Stack Up?

Next, students look up the graph for your particular state and compare it to the national average.

Part 3: Make a Prediction

Students guess how many states do not have income taxes. After revealing the answer, they make a prediction about the tax structure in those states. 

On the following slide, students can toggle through the graphs for all eight states without income taxes to check their prediction.

Finally, students reflect on whether they would want to live in a state with no income taxes. You can use the teacher dashboard to view students’ responses and choose a few to share with the class. 

We hope this activity could be a great fit in your personal finance or math classroom! You can find this activity and more in the NGPF Financial Algebra Desmos Collection.

How to Get Started with Desmos
If you're new to using Desmos, here are some great resources to get you started.


Teaching state and local taxes? Check out Question of the Day: How many states do not have state income taxes?


About the Author

Kathryn Dawson

Kathryn (she/her) is excited to join the NGPF team after 9 years of experience in education as a mentor, tutor, and special education teacher. She is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in policy analysis and management and has a master's degree in education from Brooklyn College. Kathryn is looking forward to bringing her passion for accessibility and educational justice into curriculum design at NGPF. During her free time, Kathryn loves embarking on cooking projects, walking around her Seattle neighborhood with her partner and dog, or lounging in a hammock with a book.

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Get Question of the Day, FinCap Friday, and the latest updates from NGPF in your inbox by subscribing today: