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Related Lessons

Lesson: Scarcity and Resources


Toys for Me: A Lesson on Choice

Students encounter the concept of scarcity in their daily tasks but have little comprehension as to its meaning or how to deal with the concept of scarcity. Scarcity is really about knowing that often life is 'This OR That' not 'This AND That'. This lesson plan for students in grades K-2 and 3-5 introduces the concept of scarcity by illustrating how time is finite and how life involves a series of choices. Specifically, this lesson teaches students about scarcity and choice: Scarcity means we all have to make choices and all choices involve "costs." Not only do you have to make a choice every minute of the day because of scarcity, but, when making a choice, you have to give up something. This cost is called oppportunity cost. Opportunity cost is defined as the value of the next best thing you would have chosen. It is not the value of all things you could have chosen. Choice gives us 'benefits' and choice gives us 'costs'. Not only do you have to make a choice every minute of the day, because of scarcity, but also, when making a choice, you have to give up something of value (opportunity cost). To be asked to make a choice between 'this toy OR that toy' is difficult for students who want every toy. A goal in life for each of us is to look at our wants, determine our opportunities, and try and make the best choices by weighing the benefits and costs.

Grades: 3-5
Published: 04/21/2004

That's Not Fair! How Do We Share?

This lesson has students explore a variety of ways to share, particularly when an obvious solution is not apparent.

Grades: K-2
Published: 06/10/2002

The Mitten

This is a folktale retold by Jan Brett about a little boy whose grandmother knits him a pair of snow-white mittens. While the boy is outside playing, he loses one of the mittens and some animals find it and move thinking that it looks warm and would make a good home. The events of the story illustrate the concept of scarcity-in this case, scarcity of space.

Grades: K-2
Published: 07/25/2008

Related Publications

The following lessons come from the Council for Economic Education's library of publications. Clicking the publication title or image will take you to the Council for Economic Education Store for more detailed information.


Financial Fitness for Life: K-2 - Teacher Guide

This publication contains 16 stories that complement the K-2 Student Storybook. Specific to grades K-2 are a variety of activities, including making coins out of salt dough or cookie dough; a song that teaches students about opportunity cost and decisions; and a game in which students learn the importance of savings.

Grades: K-2
Published: 2010

16 out of 18 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

Playful Economics

Designed primarily for elementary and middle school students, each of the 15 lessons in this guide introduces an economics concept through activities with modeling clay.

Grades: K-8
Published: 2011

9 out of 17 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

Energy, Economics, and the Environment: Case Studies and Teaching Activities for High School

This publication helps students analyze energy and environment issues from an economics perspective.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 2006

3 out of 6 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.