Costs and Benefits of 'The Three Little Pigs'
This lesson printed from:
Posted April 12, 2002
Author: Mickey Ebert
Posted: April 12, 2002
Updated: June 1, 2009
When we make decisions, it is good to compare costs and benefits. In the "Three Little Pigs," two little pigs could have used this decision making skill!
- Identify the costs and benefits of decisions.
What can "The Three Little Pigs" teach us about decision making?
One pig wanted to hurry and build his house so he could go out and play. Does that sound like one or more of your students? One pig spent a little more time building his house, but he still skimped on quality so he could go and play. When the wolf came, down went the houses! The cost of doing quick work hardly matched the benefit of being able to play!Students will be given examples of decisions and they will identify the cost or benefits of those decisions.
A cost is what you give up when you decide to do something.
[NOTE: This is a definition to cost taken from the EconEdLink Glossary]
COST: Best referred to as opportunity cost, this is the highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity. This is a hallmark of anything dealing with economics -- or life for that matter -- because any action that you take prevents you from doing something else. The value expressed in terms of satisfaction of the foregone activity is your opportunity cost. Because there are usually several alternatives that aren't pursued, opportunity cost is the highest-valued one. An opportunity cost is sometimes compensated with some form of payment, like a wage. However, the existence of an opportunity cost is independent of any actual cash outlay.
A benefit is something that satisfies your wants.
When making a decision, students should consider the costs and the benefits of that decision.
Use this link to hear a story about "The Three Little Pigs."
Ask the students after the story: Would you build a house that you knew a wolf could blow down? [No.] Why did the first little pig build his house of straw? [Remind the students that the first little pig wanted to get done fast so he could play.] So, when he built his house out of straw he had the BENEFIT of being able to play all those other days! He made a decision and the BENEFIT of being able to play those extra days was what he gained! But what did the first little pig lose? Yes, he lost his house.
He made a decision and the COST of that decision was that the wolf could blow his house down. The second little pig made a decision, too.
He decided to build his house out of wood. What was the BENEFIT of that decision? What did he gain? Yes, he gained a nice wooden house and a few days to play. When the second little pig made the decision to build his house out of wood, there was also a COST. What was the COST? What did he give up? [He gave up his house, because the wolf blew it down.]
The third little pig built his house out of bricks. He made the decision to build his house out of bricks and he had a COST and a BENEFIT, too. When he built his house out of bricks, what was his COST? What did he have to give up that the other pigs did not have to give up? [He had to give up playing.] When he built his house out of bricks, what was his BENEFIT?[He had a house that the wolf could not blow down.]
The first little pig built his house out of straw. His benefit was that he got to go out and play. His cost was that he lost his house. Do you think he would make a better decision now if he thought about his cost and benefit?
The second little pig built his house out of wood. His benefit was that he got a nice house and he got to go out and play a few extra days. His cost was that he lost his house. Do you think he would make a better decision now if he thought about his cost and benefit?
We all like to go and play. This story teaches us that we need to make good decisions. We need to think about our costs and benefits. Good decision making requires that the students are able to think about the negatives and positives of the decision. This ability to analyze is a skill and it has to be introduced and practiced just like other skills!
The students will identify the costs and benefits of these decisions:
Here are some "Three Little Pigs" coloring sheets.