Ancient Hawaii was ruled by chiefs, who were responsible for the well-being of their people and for managing the islands' resources. The chiefs divided the islands into land districts shaped like pie slices called Ahupua'a (ah-who- pu-ah-ah.) Each Ahupua'a covered the three main regions of the islands: the mountains, the valleys, and the shore. This system was designed to allow all Hawaiian communities equal access to the limited natural resources of the islands. Students will recognize that an island has limited natural resources, will understand that the Ahupua'a system was one method for allocating resources, and complete a Cost/Benefit Analysis of this method. Students will also come up with own method for distributing Hawaii's natural resources and compare it with the Ahupua'a method.
The introduction to this lesson is a brief online story about a little girl’s visit to a pet store with her father. She considers several pets before choosing a “cute and cuddly” dog. Students are reminded that pet owners are responsible for keeping their pets safe, healthy and happy. A discussion of a pet owners desire to provide the best for their pets leads to an exploration of people’s wants. The activities that follow challenge students to explore the wants of a pet owner and their desire to provide the best for their pet fish, and then the wants of a person. The students learn that the ability to discover their wants will help them establish priorities when they are faced with scarcity. During the evaluation process, students identify some of their personal wants. As a class, they discuss why some choices are the same and others are different. They take the discussion a step further exploring how their wants compare with those of siblings and adults in their lives. They discover that age, lifestyle, likes (tastes and preferences) and what one views as important (values) help to explain the differences.
All resources are limited. It is this simple fact--scarcity--that forces us to make decisions. When we do make a choice, we pass up some other opportunity. Opportunity cost is defined as the next best alternative not chosen, or the alternative given up, when we make a decision. There are opportunity costs in making decisions about which movie you'd like to see at a certain time, how to spend your allowance, or deciding how to dress for Halloween.
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This interdisciplinary curriculum guide helps teachers introduce their students to economics using popular children's stories.
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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.
4 out of 17 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.