Grade 3-5

Those Golden Jeans

Time: 45 mins,
Updated: September 16 2019,


Students will be able to:

  • Explain the role of productive resources.
  • Identify the three types of productive resources used to produce goods and services: human, natural, and capital.

In this economics lesson, students will explore the types of resources needed to produce goods and services.



Hold up a popular candy bar in front of the class. Ask students to identify the types of resources needed to make this candy bar. Give them one minute to write down as many resources as they can. Ask students to share their answers. Remind them that making the candy bar required other resources such as machines to measure and mix the ingredients, workers to operate the machines, paper or plastic for the wrapper, electricity to run the machines and lights; plus farmers to grow the peanuts, cocoa beans, and other ingredients. Tell students producing goods and services requires more resources than just the basic ingredients we can easily see.


Ask students to identify different kinds of goods found in the classroom. Ask students if they can identify any services in the community. Tell students that many things are needed to make a good or a service, and these things are called productive resources. Tell the students that there are three types of productive resources: human resources, natural resources, and capital resources. Write the 3 vocabulary terms with it’s definition on the board.

Human resources are the workers who are making products or providing services. Explain that the workers they identified as various service providers in their community are examples of human resources.

Natural resources are things that come from nature and are unchanged by human hands.

Capital resources are man-made tools and equipment used to produce a product.

Play a round of the race game. Break the class into two teams. Each team should have a part of the board to write on. Each team needs one chalk or one marker to write on the board. Write Human, Natural, and Capital on each side of the board for each team. Each team should be lined up in a single file line in front of their side of the board. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Explain the rules to students: At the start line walk/speed walk up to the board and write an example of either a human resource, natural resource, or capital resource under the name. After writing an example on the board, walk back to the next person and hand off the marker/chalk. Once time is up, have students sit at their desk. Tally up and review their answers. Select a team winner! Remind them that it takes a combination of all types of resources to produce a good or a service.

Group Activity

If jeans or a clothing item was written on the board from the last game, segue into the group activity by introducing a man named Levi Strauss, who is the person who first made blue jeans. State that he and his partner, Jacob Davis, started making blue jeans during the gold rush in California. Put students in pairs or small groups. Print and distribute one copy of Levi Strauss’ Story to each student. Review the instructions with students. Give students time to complete the activity and review the answers using the Levi Strauss’ Story Answer Key.

Individual Activity

Distribute copies of Panning for Gold to each student. This handout provides additional information about panning for gold and allows students to individually identify the productive resources used.


Play the Golden Jeans Kahoot! Game with your class. Divide the students into teams or play using 1-1 devices.


Activity 1

Levi Strauss & Company has had significant changes since its beginning, which requires a changes in the types of productive resources required. Use the Levi Strauss Activity Cards to make an abbreviated timeline, having students identify changes in productive resources as the company has evolved. Print one copy of the sheet, read the instructions, and cut the squares to make them available for students.