Governmental Taxes Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Examine the three major tax structures with your students using this video-based lesson plan. Apply concepts with a real-life, cross-curricular activity, then turn to extension suggestions to further instruction.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the three tax structures
  • research tax rates
  • apply understanding of taxes


50 minutes


  • Internet availability and technology for research

Key Vocabulary

  • Regressive tax structure
  • Progressive tax structure
  • Proportional tax structure

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2

Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7

Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.


  • Increase student engagement and connect to the topic by asking students to write a 3-2-1 entrance slip: 3 things they know about taxes, 2 things they find confusing, and 1 thing they want to learn.
  • Share and discuss answers, then have students create a 3-column chart with columns titled 'Regressive Tax Structure,' 'Progressive Tax Structure,' and 'Proportional Tax Structure.' Ask students to predict what each means.
  • Start the video lesson Tax Structures: Types & Concept. Instruct students to take notes as the lesson plays.
  • Pause at 1:03 and allow students to catch up on note-taking. Discuss:
    • Who does a regressive tax structure benefit?
    • Who does a regressive tax structure hurt?
    • How does the United States define income subject to taxes differently?
    • Does this system seem just?
  • Resume the video and pause at 2:28. After students have completed note-taking, ask:
    • How does the United States use a progressive tax system?
    • Who bears the burden in a progressive tax system?
    • What is an example of a proportional tax system?
    • Why do some argue that a proportional tax system is often regressive? Do you agree?
  • Continue playing the remainder of the lesson. Allow students to complete note-taking, and answer remaining questions.

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