Solving Problems Using Math Terminology

Subject: ESL/ELL (English Language Learning), Math

Lesson Length: 30 - 45 mins

Topic: Language of Mathematics

Grade Level: 6, 7

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: This lesson reinforces the language associated with finding the percent of numbers when solving word problems.

Know Before You Start: Students should be familiar with how to find a percent of a number. Terms to know: markup, markdown, discount.


  • Read and discuss the sample comic.
    • Would you buy a cookie for that price? 
    • Do you think that the amusement park tickets are a good price?
    • Could there be other reasons, besides price, that would cause people not to come to the amusement park? 
  • Tell students to imagine they are business owners. Use the "Think-Pair-Strategy" to get students to think of an item or service they would like to sell e.g., selling a car or item, babysitting, cooking, developing a new video game or technology, etc.
  • Have students share aloud.


  • Assign students the vocabulary words: markup, markdown, or discount and percentage. 
  • Using the sample comic as a guide, have students create a comic to illustrate what they are selling and how much it will cost. 
    • Panel 1: Students should share their product, the original price of that product, and the percentage they are going to markup or down.
    • Panel 2: Students should solve and find the amount of the markup/down and the new total price.


  • Have students share their comics in small or whole group for an additional oral language opportunity.


  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.
  • Allow students to use the voiceover feature to read their comics aloud.
  • Allow students to work in pairs or groups as needed.
  • Provide sentence frames as needed.
  • Display visuals and translation for vocabulary.
  • Adapt this lesson to fit vocabulary to match your current needs, e.g., tax, sales tax, sales price, original price, selling price.


  • Comic to print or display