|Lesson 1 - "Do You Need It or Just
Students will be able to distinguish between "wants" and "needs" and
will be able to make a short list of each.
Economic Concepts / Vocabulary:
wants and needs
1. Read Stan and Jan Berenstains The Berenstain Bears Count Their
Blessings. Discuss the "blessings" that Mama and Papa Bear listed
during the storm. Explain that another name for these "blessings" would be
"needs." Provide the students with a simple definition for
"needs" (or ask them what they think this word means) such as "...something
that is necessary to stay alive, healthy, content, etc." Then, in a
similar way define the word "wants" A simple definition might be
"...something that is not necessary to live but is something you would like to
2. Bring out a gift (actually a box containing scissors, glue, several
magazines, and 12"x18" paper)large and nicely wrapped. Tell the
children that the gift contains something that each of them needs. Have the children
brainstorm what the package might contain. Write down each different response.
Do not unwrap the gift yet.
3. Next, bring out another gift (a box containing catalogs)equally
large and beautifully wrapped. Tell the children that this one is full of things
that they might want. (Review some of the things that Sister and Brother Bear wanted
in the story.) Have the children brainstorm what the package might contain.
Write down each different response. Do not unwrap the gift yet.
4. Explain that the children will be making collages of things that they
need and things that they want. Show the class an example of such a collage.
(This collage would be a 12"x18" piece of construction paper which has been
folded in half the "short" way and then opened again. On one half of the
paper would be pictures of "needs" that have been cut out of magazines and glued
on. The other half would contain pictures of "wants" that have been cut
out of catalogs.) Open the "needs" gift and reveal its contents.
Explain that these are the supplies that the children will need to complete the
project. Ask if anyone can guess what is in the "wants" gift. Listen
to several responses. Open the "wants" gift and reveal its contents.
Explain that these magazines contain pictures of what each of them might want.
Supporting online materials: Economic Glossary