Subway Economics

This lesson follows a case study of a busy couple that is challenged by one of their coworker’s to figure out whether it is cheaper to make sandwiches or buy them from Subway. Students get a chance to apply their critical thinking & problem solving skills to a practical problem as well as get a chance to learn basic math in Excel.

Time Frame: 1 block


  • Ask your students how much lunch costs them everyday. Is there a price difference between brown bag lunches and buying it from the cafeteria?


  • Computer Lab


  • If you have a smart board you’ll definately want to set it up to walk through how to use Excel to do math. Don’t know how to use Excel? Click here for a tutorial – it’s easy!
  • Read through the case/problem with the class.
  • Depending on the level and brightness of your class you may want to walk through the basic problem solving steps asked in question #1 on the Subway Economics Worksheet.
  • You may also want to assign students a partner. (optional)


  • Students will work on completing the worksheet using the internet and Excel.


  • You can also have your students figure out if it is cheaper to eat at your school’s cafeteria or make the equivalent product at home and bring it for lunch.


  • What did you find was cheaper for this couple? Were you surprised? Why or why not?
  • Does anyone work at Subway? How does Subway keep its costs down?
  • Is eating out always economical?
  • What other factors are we not considering in this price comparison? (Opportunity Cost of Time)



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