Grade: 2 and 3
Class Time: 1 hr.
Focus: Ask students what are some of the things they feel they need. Ask students what are some of the things they want. Are these the same?
Outcomes: Students will be able to describe the differences between wants and needs and goods and services. Students will use decision making techniques in deciding how to use limited resources.
Objective: Students will be able to differentiate between wants and needs. Students will use personal experiences in describing wants and needs. Students will recognize that human beings have unlimited wants. Students will be able to use decision making techniques in making choices. Students will be able to identify the opportunity cost of a decision. Students will be able to define opportunity cost as the “greatest opportunity lost.”
Core Competencies: Using decision making skills
1. Read story, “I Really, Really, Really Need That Big Red Bike.”
2. Discuss what it means to need something and what does it mean to want something.
3. What did Patty really want in this story?
4. Do you think Patty really needed a big red bike? Why or why not?
5. Why didn’t she just go out and get it?
6. Have students recall a time when they thought that they needed something, but really didn’t. Discuss a few of these stories together.
7. Have students write a paragraph, a song, or a poem about something they really wanted, but didn’t need. Put this written activity in a journal.
8. Have students illustrate their written activity.
9. Make a mural comparing and contrasting examples of needs and wants.
Materials/Resources: The story, “I Really, Really, Really Need That Big Red Bike,” and student journals
Evaluation: Journal writing; class participation; oral responses to questions about story.
Extensions: Have more able students do a skit on needs and wants. Encourage students to use song and dance.
Vocabulary: Needs, wants, opportunity cost.
Related Skills: Writing, reading, and dramatic play
Source: Berry, Jason and Murphy, Carole (1995). Elem. Educ. 253, Social Studies Methods, Univ. of Mo., St. Louis.