Title: Lesson 2 - Needs and Wants

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					Middle School Social Studies                                       Exploring Roles in the Economy
The Western World

                                SCoPE Site Lesson Plan
Title: Lesson 2 – Needs and Wants (SS060102)

In this lesson students define and compare needs and wants of people in the American economic
system. They consider variables such as gender, age, environment, and resources that may
influence and sometimes determine a person's needs and wants.

Subject Area: Social Studies

Grade Level and Course Title: Sixth Grade/The Western World

Unit of Study: Exploring Roles in the Economy

 Describe the roles of the various economic institutions which comprise the American
   economic system such as governments, business firms, labor unions, banks and households

Key Concepts
economic institutions
economic reasoning

Instructional Resources
Construction paper
Drawing markers or pencils
Poster board

Student Resource
Advertisement inserts from Sunday paper for collage

Teacher Resource
Advertisement inserts from a major Sunday newspaper

The Great Economics Mysteries Book: A Guide to Teaching Economic Reasoning Grades 4 – 8.
    New York: National Council for Economics Education, 2005.

Printed text or Internet access to economics resources, such as:

Search National Council on Economic Education. 2001. National Council on Economic
    Education. 4 October 2006 <http://search.ncee.net/>.

October 25, 2006                                                     SCoPE SS060102 Page 1 of 3
Middle School Social Studies                                     Exploring Roles in the Economy
The Western World
Recording of: Porgy and Bess, "I Got Plenty O'Nothin." Music by George Gershwin. Libretto by
    DuBose Heyward. Lyrics by DeBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin. Screenplay by N. Richard
    Nash. Original production 1935. Subsequent productions and sound tracks are available on
    vinyl recording and CD. Refer to the school and public libraries for a copy.

Schug, Mark C., et al. United States History: Eyes on the Economy – Volumes 1 and 2. New
    York: National Council on Economic Education, 1993.

Goralewski, Sharon. Supplemental Materials (SS06010201.doc). Teacher-made material.
    Waterford, MI: Oakland Schools, 2006.

Sequence of Activities
1. Review the definition of an economy from Lesson 1. Tell students that there are thousands
   of goods and services available that meet needs and wants. Hold up a sample of the
   advertisement inserts from a Sunday newspaper. Ask them how they will choose to meet
   their needs and wants. Guide the discussion so students begin to consider the role of
   advertising and the importance of economic reasoning in making choices and decisions.

2. Distinguish between needs and wants. Include in the discussion the importance of
   “resources” (money and budgets). Use this opportunity to discuss the role of advertising in
   promoting wants by returning to the advertisements from the newspaper and examining
   advertisements that influence the appetite, make one more attractive, etc. Provide the
   students with art supplies and advertisements, and instruct them to select three ads from the
   newspaper that encourage wants. Instruct the students to make a small collage with the three

3. Explain to the students that needs and wants are sometimes reflected in song and literature.
   Describe the story of Porgy and Bess and the song, "I've Got Plenty O’ Nothin." Play the
   song through once, asking the students to listen for evidence of wants and needs being
   expressed. Since the song and tempo move along rather quickly, it may be necessary to
   replay the song, or even stop and replay it where needs and wants are emphasized, if feasible
   depending on the player device. A copy of the lyrics can be found in the Supplemental
   Materials (SS06010201.doc). Discuss with the students the needs and wants expressed in the
   song, but also discuss the importance of music, literature, poetry and theater in portraying the
   economic needs and wants of people.

4. In a guided discussion, ask students what needs and wants are presented in the song. Discuss
   whether all people share similar needs and wants. Are there some things people need and
   want that are universal? What are they? Generate a list of needs and wants that are common
   among all people. (Examples could include medical care, housing, food, education,
   employment). Are any wants met freely or without monetary costs? (Examples may include
   emotional support, attention, love, etc.)

5. Discuss the contexts or environments that may in part determine a person's needs and wants.
   For example, someone living in the desert has little need of a canoe. The discussion should

October 25, 2006                                                    SCoPE SS060102 Page 2 of 3
Middle School Social Studies                                     Exploring Roles in the Economy
The Western World
   include how needs and wants differ based on age, gender, assets and location. This is a good
   opportunity to present an economics mystery either taken from or similar to those presented
   in The Great Economics Mysteries book and crafted to focus on advertisements. The book
   may be used as a model with which to organize teacher-made mysteries using local materials.

6. Practical examples of needs and wants can be developed from the prior knowledge of the
   students. Write the following description on the board or an overhead transparency (a copy
   can be found in Supplemental Materials (SS06010201.doc) listed in the resources):
       There is a family
       with children aged 8 months and 2 years
       living in a small, 1 bedroom apartment in Chicago
       and the breadwinner is employed at a fast food restaurant.

7. Discuss the possible wants and needs of the family described. List the wants and needs in
   terms of the economic decisions the adults in the family would have to make. Brainstorm
   businesses and organizations that would help the family described above meet their needs
   and wants (used baby equipment, inexpensive toys, daycare, a commuting service that
   matches people with rides to work, etc.). Conclude the brainstorming with a discussion
   regarding demands on the economic system to meet the needs of a wide range of people in
   the United States. There are different economic institutions, such as the family, churches,
   banks, Goodwill Industries, etc., that contribute to meeting the needs and wants of people.

Students develop a poster showing the needs and wants of an individual or family. The poster
should explain the importance of environment or context in determining how people meet needs
and wants. It should also reflect how age, gender, location or time periods influence a person’s
needs and wants.

Application Beyond School
Students should practice identifying their own needs and prioritize their wants. The concept of
opportunity cost learned in earlier grades might be revisited in those discussions with adults.
Students will compare the consumers and producers relied upon at home relative to family
budgeting considerations.

Students use music to identify the emotive and actual needs and wants, and how they may be

Students use artistic skills to prepare a poster explaining needs and wants and how they are met.

October 25, 2006                                                    SCoPE SS060102 Page 3 of 3

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