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# You're So Fined

## How do municipal fines affect people with different incomes?

How do municipal fines affect people with different incomes? Cities and towns around the country rely on parking and speeding tickets to generate much-needed revenue. Unfortunately these fines can trap the neediest residents in a cycle of debt, especially when they’re compounded by monthly late fees.

In this lesson, students write, solve, and graph systems of linear equations to determine how long it takes to pay off a ticket and debate the fairest ways for cities to raise revenues without harming their poorest residents.

### REAL WORLD TAKEAWAYS

• Cities use tickets and fines to deter bad behavior and also to raise revenue for local services.
• The time it takes someone to pay off a ticket depends on their income and essential living expenses.
• Many cities charge monthly fees when someone can’t pay a fine immediately. This affects both the time it takes to pay off the ticket and the final cost.
• Some people who struggle to pay municipal fines go into debt, lose their jobs, and even go to jail.
• Different countries calculate fines differently. In Finland, for example, speeding tickets are based on a person’s income.

### MATH OBJECTIVES

• Write and solve a system of linear equations and interpret the intersection in a real-world context
• Explore how changing the slopes and y-intercepts affects where (and if) two lines intersect
• Use a unit rate to create a table, graph, and equation

Great anytime, including at the beginning of a unit before students have any formal introduction to the topic.