Sales Tax Lesson Plan

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Use this lesson plan to introduce your students to sales taxes. Students will watch a video lesson, read a text lesson, and calculate sales tax in a real-world context.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define sales tax and name several different types
  • calculate sales tax


30-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quantity); solve problems involving finding the whole, given a part and the percent.


Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities.


  • Sales receipts


  • Begin the lesson by asking for a show of hands of who has gone shopping recently. Chances are most of your students will raise their hand. Show a sales receipt (either bring one in or find one online) to the class and highlight the bottom section that shows totals and taxes. Ask students the following:
    • Why are there extra amounts of money added after the total?
    • What might be the reason for this?
  • Begin the video lesson Sales Tax: Definition, Types, Purpose & Examples. Pause the video at 1:23.
  • Write the term 'sales tax' on the board. Ask for student volunteers to construct a definition of the term. Write this definition on the board.
  • Next, ask students to create the following table. They will fill in this table as they watch the next section of the video lesson.

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