Trade to the Tailor


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Some children believe they can have all of the goods and services they want from their families because they think these items are free. By reading the book "A New Coat for Anna" you will learn that things have a cost. In addition you will learn about resources, scarcity, costs, trading/bartering, and decision making through the experiences of Anna, whose mother wanted to buy Anna a coat, but did not have the money.


In this lesson, you will learn the definition of bartering and apply the concept to the worksheet activity provided in the process. You will also make the connection between bartering/trading and resources by answering questions during class discussion. Lastly, you will learn how to use productive resources (natural, capital, and human resources) to trade or get the things you want without using money.


coatYou or your teacher will read "A New Coat for Anna" by Harriet Ziefert. You will then create a list of the things mother had to barter in the order that they occurred in the story. Finally, you will discuss as class the story and answer several questions regarding the story and the concepts presented in this lesson.

Why couldn't Anna's mother go to the store to buy a coat?

What could Anna and her mother do instead?

What is bartering?

What things did she have to barter/trade?

What things did her mother still need to get?

What resources were needed to produce the coat?

Were the resources needed natural, capital, or human?


Most of the time, when we want something, there is a cost involved. Sometimes we use money, and sometimes we trade or barter. The things we use to barter/trade or buy are called natural, capital, and human resources. Remember, bartering occurs when two people find themselves with something that someone else values even more and they exchange the item/service of lesser value (to themselves) for the item of greater or equal value. Bartering/trading takes place when both parties are better off than they were before the exchange.


Fold a piece of paper into fourths. Number the sections 1-4. In each section draw things from the story as requested:

  1. A picture of two things that were traded for each other.
  2. A picture of a natural resource.
  3. A picture of a capital resource.
  4. A picture of a human resource.

If preferred, use this worksheet to draw on.



  1. If your teacher says it's all right: Now is your chance to barter. You may bring a stuffed animal that you don't want anymore to school and trade with a friend to get a another stuffy that you like as well as or even better than the one you brought from home.

    If you aren't able to get the animal you want on the first try, you may trade up to two more times and see if you can end up with a toy that someone will trade you for the one you want.
  2. With your class, graph the natural, capitol, and human resources used in the story. Which type of resource is most plentiful? Which is least plentiful? Why do you think that is? Why do you think there is a difference?
  3. Identify the seasons you see in the story. How long do you think they had to wait for the coat to be made? Sometimes we have to plan ahead to get the things that we want.
  4. Consider having a coat drive for your class/school to bring in new or gently used coats. The Salvation Army does a drive every year to collect coats for those in need. Talk to your teacher about this idea.