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Compiled By: shazam

Here are some ideas for teaching economics concepts to students.

Economics Unit
Posted by: ConnieWI

When my nephew was in sixth grade, they had an economics unit. At the end of the unit, each child had to make a certain number of items to like cookies or snacks, small toys, games, etc. While making them, each child had to keep track of the hours it took to make the item, the number of people who helped them make it, and the cost of materials. (The final item could cost no more than $1.00 per item to make.) They also had to make advertisements for their item. From this info, the teacher and child made a decision what each item would cost.

Tables were set up in the gym with the ads above the tables and each grade was allowed to come through and purchase the items. (Only so many of my nephew's item could be sold to each grade level so that by the time the last class got there, there were still some of each item to buy. The teacher made this decision.)

Then my nephew had to reimburse his parents for the cost of the materials and pay his grandfather for his labor. Any money left over was his profit and belonged to him.

The teacher had certain days each thing was due along the for what was being made, date for what the cost would be to make it, date by which all items need to be completed, date for sale, date for final project showing all the math involved.

This was a great experience for all members of the class. The math and economics concepts learned during this assignment really hit home!

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Play Dough Economics
Posted by: Jen

Our state test also includes economics for our 5th grade social studies test. I found a wonderful book called play dough economics. I think their website is Not positive, but it is the national council on economic education. Anyway, the curriculum was great. My kids loved it! I had a 4th/5th split class and my 4th graders had no problems either. The way it works is that you introduce a concept, say goods and services, then you lecture about goods and services for a few minutes and then you give the kids play dough and they have to create a good or service. It really did teach them a lot.

Posted by: economics

We just did a small unit on economics for my 3rd graders, and these are a few things that would work for what you're talking about:

1. Using newspaper circulars, have the kids circle the items that are "wants" and the ones that are "needs". Then have them create an ad for each.

2. Cut "goods" and "services" out of construction paper and make a 2 column bulletin board for them to put their items (we did 1 of each per child).

3. To reinforce the whole "needs" issue, we cut a large apple, shirt, and house out of bulletin board paper. We talked about food, clothing, and shelter being the 3 basic consumer needs. Then the kids used magazines to cut out pictures that represented each - and glued them to the bulletin board paper. For homework that night they had a tree map (we use thinking maps in our school) of the 3 needs and they had to draw 5 items in each one.

There's more, but that's all I'm remembering off the top of my head. They really enjoyed the unit - and 20 out of 24 students made an A on the exam at the end!

Posted by: Amy

Our third graders have an Economics Sale every year. Each student has to make 15-20 of the same product (they have guidelines and a budget). Each student decides on what to produce (some children have made bracelets, picture frames, wooden cars, etc.) and decides on a price (25, 50, or 75 cents). They have to factor in what they spent on materials to predict their profit. Once they have completed all of this, they sell their products in the cafeteria to the other students at school. It is a big fund raiser. Once the sale is over, the whole third grade votes on where the money will be donated. This year we donated over $1,000 to the Austin Children's Hospital and our students were in the paper!

Posted by: Sandy

Lead off with a very basic discussion of supply and demand. Then have each child take out one item from their desk. It could be a pencil, eraser, ruler, textbook...whatever. Then give each child a sticky note and have them write a price on it for their item. Then have the students walk around a view the objects for sale. You could make up a tally sheet or something where they could keep track of how many of each item were for sale and what the selling price was. After this, continue a more in-depth discussion of supply and demand using the various class items that are for sale as examples. (If there are 8 erasers for sale, would you pay $5.00 for one when you can go two desks down and buy it for $.10? Now what about Mark's pencil box? He has the only one and there isn't another one like it available. Do you think he could sell it for more than the $.25 he is asking for? Why or why not? Then have them write down 2 things they learned today. Hope this helps. If you need more details, email me.

economics lesson
Posted by: Sandy

Here's an idea that I did with my 2nd graders. Have each student take 3 things out of their desk that they are going to put up for (pretend) sale. Give them stickies and have them decide on a price for each item and display these items on their desk. Then let the students walk around and compare objects and prices. This leads into a great discussion about supply and demand. If most students pulled out a ruler, people are going to buy the cheapest one. If only one or two people pulled out a pencil box or something else out of the ordinary they are going to be able to charge more money because the supply is very low. After you discuss, then have the students go back and reprice their items to meet the supply and demand for those items. After a follow up discussion, I had them write 2 things they learned in class about supply and demand (in paragraph form, of course).

Opportunity Cost
Posted by: Beth

I hadn't even heard of opportunity cost until this week. We have to teach it as part of a 4th grade economics unit. If we understood the meaning coorectly, we see opportunity cost as choosing how to spend money best on certain criteria. In a lesson we found, it starts with a story about a boy who got $ for his birthday and goes to the mall to spend it. He has to choose 4 things, so he gives himself criteria to follow and see if the items meet his criteria (less than $15, will last long, Mom would approve, etc.). He creates a table to organize his info. Then we will discuss how this relates to their lives, and how opportunity cost affect others. We haven't taught it yet, but this is our plan. Are we even close to what opportunity cost actually means?

Opportunity Cost
Posted by: Emma

Opportunity Cost is what you have to give up when you make a decision. For example, if you have $10 and decide to buy something, you give up everything else you could have bought with that $10. So in your case, the boy probably has a big list of stuff he wants and only so much money. When he spends his money, he is giving up everything else on the list. So the opportunity cost is everything else on the list.

Posted by: Phyllis

In fourth grade we manufactured key chain bead kits using the assembly line. A student had a craft book with instructions. We bought cord, key chain things, beads, and Zip-lock bags.

We had to define the tasks, design the assembly line, choose a supervisior, have quality control, shipping, and sales crews. Before assembly could begin, the cord had to be measured and cut, the beads had to be sorted by color, little signs had to be made defining each task. We had to have shipping and sales departments.

After we began selling (as part of the school's fund raising project) we had to deal with missing items (quality control), unable to assemble (customer support), special requests for colors (customer service) and out of stock items. We learned a lot, and it was great fun!

Posted by: Indiana Teacher

We do a mini-mall where students make goods or provide services for other students to buy. They have to come up with their own idea of what they would like to sell, although there are guidelines that they have to follow. We only hold the mini-mall for a half hour, and other classes come down to shop. Students learn a little about how businesses operate - how location, price, and product matter when it comes to selling a product or service. It is an awesome learning experience for 3rd and 4th grade

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