PBL Pathways

Content Area

College Algebra, Precalculus, Finite Math

Time Frame

4 to 5 weeks with Mini Lectures


September 7, 2011


Piecewise functions, linear functions

Project Title

Medical Insurance


David Graser, Yavapai College, Prescott, AZ (David_Graser@yc.edu)


In this project, students compare two health insurance plans of their choosing to find piecewise linear functions corresponding to the plan rules. Students will calculate the amount of medical charges the would need to have in one year for the plans to cost the same in that year.

Project Content

Project Letter: DOC | PDF

Scaffolding Resources

Definitions: DOC | PDF - This handout contains definitions of various terms you might find in a health insurance plan.

Technology Assignment : Collect and Organize Data DOC | PDF - In this tech assignment, students learn how to format an Excel worksheet while collecting data about two health insurance plans..

Technology Assignment: Calculate the Total Annual Cost  DOC | PDF - In this tech assignment, students modify the Excel worksheet from the technology assignment above to create a table for each health plan. Upon completion, they will have a table containing several values for total medical charges and the corresponding total annual medical costs.

Technology Assignment: Graph the Total Annual Cost DOC | PDF - Students use the worksheet above to make graphs the total annual medical costs as a function of the total medical charges for each plan.

Technology Assignment: Find Piecewise Linear Models DOC | PDF - This tech assignment helps students to combine the graphs for each health plan onto a single graph. In addition, it demonstrates how to find the piecewise linear formulas for each health plan.




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