PBL Pathways

Content Area

College Algebra, Precalculus, Finite Math

Time Frame

5 to 6 weeks with Mini Lectures


March 16, 2012


Piecewise functions, linear functions

Project Title

Medical Insurance 2


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


This is an update of the Medical Insurance Project. Instead of finding two plans and comparing them to each other, students find only one plan and compare them to a given plan. This project is more guided than the original project to account for the fact that many students are completely unfamiliar with health insurance.

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 about a health insurance plan. They will put the data into an Excel worksheet with data from the given Basic Plus Plan as well as the plan they have chosen.

Technology Assignment: Find and Understand Costs DOC | PDF - To help understand the terminology regarding health insurance, students fill out a table of the relevent charges and costs in the Basic Plus Plan and the plan they chose. The links above are to Word and PDF forms for the table. Although the students can save their data in the form using more recent versions of Adobe Reader, a small number have difficulty doing this. For those students, I recommend they fill out the Word table instead. This video show how to fill out the form.

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: Calculate the Total Annual Cost (Alternate Version) DOC | PDF - This tech assignment may be used to replace Find and Understand Costs and Calculate the Total Annual Cost above. These assignments used Excel extensively to create a table of values. In this assignment, students find three points on the piecewise linear model for health insurance. Then they make a graph of the function using Excel.

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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