We started our Economics unit for social studies today. The first things we learned were needs and wants. A need is something we can’t live with out, a want is something that makes life more fun. 🙂 We talked about different wants- things that we have asked for for our birthdays or things that were on our Christmas list.
The kids know that we have 5 needs:
food, water, shelter, clothes,
We also talked about goods and services. A good is something you buy that you can hold or touch, and a service is something that someone else does for you. The kids did a great job of brainstorming different kinds of services- mailmen, waiters, policemen, teachers, and dentists.
We turned our room into a factory this afternoon to talk about producers and consumers. We learned that we are all consumers (use, buy, & eat things) and we learned that producers make things. We all became producers within Factor
I then showed them a box of candy that I had. I told them that there were different kinds of candy and that they would be able to choose one piece to have. After they had chosen, I had the kids raise their hands if they weren’t able to get their first choice candy. I used this example to explain the idea of scarcity to the kids, we talked about how there isn’t always enough of something for everyone to have it (or sometimes we don’t have enough money to buy everything we want).
I then shared how some of the kids had two pieces of candy that they really wanted, but they could only have one. We talked about how when you can’t have both, then you need to make a choice between the ones you like the best. I gave the kids the example of how I go shopping and see so many things at the store that I want, but I don’t have enough money to buy it all. So, we have to make choices!
I asked the kids what you could do if you ended up with a piece of candy that you didn’t want and they came up with the idea to trade. So, I had the kids who ended up with candy that wasn’t their first choice come to the middle of our circle and see if they could trade with each other. Some of them were able to and some were not. We discussed how trading is a great solution, but how it only works if the other person wants what you have to trade.
We then read A New Coat for Anna, a book that dealt with a family who needed to get a new coat for their daughter, but they had no money. So, they traded things from their home with the people who could provide the services they needed to make a new coat for the little girl.
After reviewing how the family used trading to get the things they needed, we talked about how we get the things we need. Sometimes we trade, but the kids also focused on using cash, debit cards, checks, credit cards, gift cards, etc.