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.
In ancient Hawaii, chiefs managed the economy by creating a land division system, the Ahupua'a, which divided the islands into pie slice shapes. Each Ahupua'a covered the three main regions of the islands: the mountains, the valleys, and the beach. This system was designed to allow all Hawaiian communities equal access to the limited natural resources of the islands. However, it took a lot of time and energy to gather and grow all these resources, which were often spread out over great distances and located at different elevations. Many Hawaiians began to specialize in fishing and farming, and soon there was a need for Hawaiians to trade with one another to receive items they were no longer growing or gathering for themselves.
Do you know what funny money is? It's NOT the real thing! Find out how our government tries to make our money hard to copy in this lesson about real and fake money.
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.
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.
17 out of 17 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.
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.
12 out of 18 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.
This revised and updated "how to" guide is a great way to start a classroom business with your students.
7 out of 7 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.