Risky Business


Mr. Melis’ Pre-Algebra class entered into some risky business last week. In order to explore practical use of math, the class created a fictional t-shirt business and crunched the numbers to see if it would be possible to make a living off its net revenue.

“Students started to explore if you can make a living selling t-shirts. To do this they first considered the costs they would have to make the t-shirts, which included the cost of a printer, the cost to buy a plain t-shirt, and the cost to print a design on the t-shirt,” commented Mr. Melis.


Once the class figured out the real costs associated with production and design, it looked at whether or not the company was a viable source of income in a world with real expenses.

“The class discussed how much money they would be spending on a monthly basis on living expenses, and they explored housing, food, utilities, insurance, and transportation costs. Next they looked at how much money they could be making if they were selling their t-shirts for $4.00 per t-shirts, and it quickly became apparent that at this price they would have to sell a lot of them to be able to make a living,” remarked Mr. Melis.

It turns out that running a successful t-shirt business requires astute math skills and a business savvy.


“The second challenge was to consider what a reasonable price for the t-shirts could be, keeping in mind the total cost they estimated for living expenses and the cost per t-shirts. Students also had to balance the price of a t-shirt with the fact that if they set their price too high they probably would not be able to sell many t-shirts. So, students were creating estimates based on three different prices and comparing these results with the cost of making the t-shirts,” remarked Mr. Melis.

In the end, students learned that business ventures can be risky. However, with strong math skills and attention to details, success is just a screen print away.

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