In this lesson, students will learn about choices and opportunity costs that occur every day. While this lesson will go on throughout the day, the actual lesson is short.
- Keep a class list, noting the choices made as a class throughout the day as well as what was given up to make those choices.
- Complete a printable worksheet demonstrating an understanding of opportunity cost.
- Discuss the class chart that was kept until the end of the day.
- Complete the extension activity as homework with parents/guardians (If applicable).
In this lesson, you and your students will take a closer look at the choices that are made in the classroom everyday. At the end of the school day, you will discuss with them that every one of the things your class chose or did not choose has consequences that are either good or bad. Students will get a better idea about why it is important to think before they act and they will also gain a better understanding of why you do some things the way you do. You might even surprise yourself and find some things you could do better in your classroom!
"Choices Matter" Activity. Students can use this activity to aid their understanding of the impact of choices.
"My Choice" Worksheet. Students give an example of a choice that they have made and relate it to the opportunity cost of their decision.
"Choices, Choices!" Worksheet. Students write down there choices at home and bring them to class for discussion.
Begin a discussion about making choices. Ask the students to tell you some of the choices that they made before coming to school. As the students provide examples, make a list of these examples on the board. Then ask that student what they did not choose to do instead and write this example next to their '"choice". Before moving from one student to the next, ask that student if the thing they did not choose was the next best thing that they could have chosen to do. If not, have the student provide an example of what the next best choice would have been. Explain to the students that the next best thing that they didn't choose is their "Opportunity Cost" (Definition: The second-best alternative (or the value of that alternative) that must be given up when scarce resources are used for one purpose instead of another, e.g. If they chose to brush their teeth their opportunity cost might be eating candy.) Discuss with them whether or not the choice they made was good or bad and why. Once the concept of "opportunity cost" is understood, tell the students that you will be spending the day recording decisions that are made.
Using a large piece of poster paper divided into two columns with one column "choice" and the other "opportunity cost." List the choices made during the day. During the day, provide opportunities for the class to vote on things like whether to do math first or do puzzles first. Record the choices and at the end of the day discuss whether they made good decisions. Circle the ones students think should have been made differently and discuss what they should have considered when they were making those choices...
Remember, the list can include academics, activities, or behavior. Try to keep the list relevant to the class as a whole and not individuals.
Give each student a piece of paper (at least 8.5X11) or a copy of the printable worksheet "My Choice". Ask the students to explain and draw a picture of a choice that they made either before or during school on the top half. Tell them you would like to see examples of choices made outside of the classroom. Then have them explain and draw a picture of what the opportunity cost for that choice is on the bottom half. Remind students they may choose to draw a bad choice that they made, but if they do, the "opportunity cost" needs to be a picture of what would have been a better choice.
When the students are finished, you can call on volunteers to share and explain their pictures.
Have the students complete the printable version of the activity called "Choices Matter".
Explain to students that there are choices that need to be made and they have to circle the best choice and put an X on the "opportunity costs."
As a homework assignment, ask the students to solicit the aid of their parents and keep a journal for the remainder of the day about the choices made and what they gave up until bedtime (for younger students, the parents may need to do the recording).
You can have students decide as a class some things to put on a check list that could be used for the remainder of the day. It could include things such as: brushing their teeth or eating candy, staying up ten more minutes or having a bedtime story, etc.
You can use the printable sheet "Choices, Choices!"
Then use these activities for discussion the next morning.
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