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Buying a car (QC)

Subject Area: Mathematics

Brief overview

This situation consists of making students aware of the costs related to buying a car and introducing them to personal loans involving interest rates.

Subject area(s)

Competency 1: Resolving a problematic situation
Analysis of the situation, identification of mathematical elements and relevant information, appropriate organization and use of concepts and strategies

Explanation of the teaching goal

– Expenses related to possessing a car
– Introduction to loans (interest rates)

Expected outcomes

Ensure that the students are aware that when they buy a car, they must think about more than just the cost of the car, but also all the costs that come with it.

Role playing

The teacher asks the students to highlight all the costs that come with a car. The teacher then makes an organizational map of all the ideas on the board (taxes, insurance, licence plate, driver’s licence, gas, maintenance).


Students should choose the model of car that they are interested in and make a note of its price.* They should buy this vehicle privately and not from a dealer. They will then calculate the expenses that result from this purchase. The appendix has a file to fill out.
* There are different options when choosing a vehicle:
– Internet access (online shopping)
– Newspaper access (searching classifieds)
– Assign this task as homework the previous class


The teacher reviews the lesson to see the total yearly cost for each student. The teacher then tells them it is possible to pay for the car in installments over a certain period. In this way the teacher can cover the notion of personal borrowing and interest rates. The teacher can do the same with buying a house. For example, the initial cost of a house will not necessarily be the real amount that they spend. The interest rate adds additional fees to the initial value, according to the payment term.


May require Internet access (see Achievement).

Required material

– Appendix: Student file
– Board
– Pencils
– Newspapers (if necessary, see Achievement)
– Internet access (if necessary, see Achievement)

Evaluation tracks

Mathematics: evaluation of the ability to understand a situation, to use the appropriate knowledge, to follow steps to arrive at a solution (C. 1)
*The teacher is free to adapt each section based on the group and as the situation unfolds