Car board game.

CareerStart lessons: Grade six

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Learning outcomes

Students will perform the basic math operations with decimals and will understand how they relate to careers in law enforcement.

Teacher planning

Materials needed

Time required for lesson

One class period


  1. This lesson requires that students know some basic background information about law enforcement careers. Introduce the topic of law enforcement careers, and be sure that students know the following:
    • Most police officers receive relatively low pay, and most police agencies are under-staffed. Police officers put their lives on the line to protect and serve the community.
    • Police officers measure drivers’ speeds using radar or Vascar. These two methods will be discussed in the student activity.
    • The phrase “serving an execution” is also used in the student activity. This refers to a law enforcement officer going to a business or residence to collect on an unpaid bond. For example, if the bond is for $20,000 then the company may settle for a percentage of it. The officers can enter the home or business and collect property at that value, sell it at an auction, and give the money back to the bonding company.
  2. Break students into small groups and pass out the small group discussion questions. Have the groups to talk about the questions.
  3. As a whole class, discuss responses to the questions.
  4. Independent practice: Have students complete “To Protect and Serve” handout.


Optional resources for more information on the topics covered in this lesson

Math Beyond School: The Police
This Math Central webpage provides many practical examples of how the police use math in accident reconstruction and on patrol.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Police and Detectives
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides detailed information on the nature of the work; training, other qualifications, and advancement; employment; job outlook; earnings; and related occupations.
Fighting Crime with Math
This video and article by the National Science Foundation explains how researchers teamed up with the Los Angeles Police Department to model the math behind spikes in crime. While the math is above grade level, this is a great example of how the police can use math.
Crime Fighting Math
This NBC video report on “predictive policing” shows how the police can stop crime before it starts by using math.
Number Cop
Students needing extra instruction in number sense (multiples, fractions in lowest terms, perfect squares, rational numbers, and prime numbers) can use this game for practice.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 6

  • Goal 1: Number and Operations - The learner will understand and compute with rational numbers.
    • Objective 1.04: Develop fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of non-negative rational numbers.
      • Analyze computational strategies.
      • Describe the effect of operations on size.
      • Estimate the results of computations.
      • Judge the reasonableness of solutions.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 7