- Why have different ways to produce and allocate goods and services developed?
Delaware State Standards
Integrated in the Instructional Strategies
- Economics Standard Three K-3a: Students will identify human wants and the various resources and strategies which have been used to satisfy them over time.
English Language Arts
- ELA Standard One: Use written English appropriate for various purposes and audiences.
Due to scarcity, who gets the goods and services once they are produced requires some method of allocation. In traditional societies, this question is handled by custom. In a command economy, a central authority makes the decision usually by setting prices on goods and services, often below the market price which results in shortages. In a market system, this question is usually answered by price. A consumer’s income determines what goods and services one can afford.
However, within any economic system, there are different ways to distribute goods and services. These include prices, command, majority rule, contests, force, first-come-first served, sharing equally, lottery, personal characteristics and others. No one method can satisfy all wants. Therefore, advantages and disadvantages of each method must be analyzed before one is selected. In the classroom, scarcity exists naturally. At this level, students can compare the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of allocating various goods and services such as treats, time on the classroom computer, use of classroom supplies, playground equipment, as well as goods and services that are scarce at home and in the community.
Gathering Information: Sequencing Events
Ask students, in small groups of 2 or 3, to think about how a plant grows. Give students a short time to talk about and write down the steps in growing a plant.
Have each group create their own diagram on poster board that shows the sequence of events for a plant to grow. Groups should share their diagrams with each other in a class discussion.
Note to Teachers: Be aware of misconceptions in sequencing: it’s not necessarily important that all steps in plant growth (from seedling to maturity) are recalled, but rather that the steps each group does show on the poster board are in the correct sequence.
Have students identify the steps in producing a plant as requiring natural, human, or capital resources. For instance, if a group says that sunshine is needed, sunshine is a natural resource.Check for Understanding = Formative Assessment
- Make a list of the resources used.
- Categorize the resources into groups (natural, human, capital).
- Write the sequence of tasks needed to create the product.
- Is there another way to make the product? Explain how if there is another way. If there is no other way, explain why not.
Extending & Refining: Graphic Organizers
Have students read this online version of The Little Red Hen. Keep in mind there will be several elements to identify in the story:
- production – the steps in producing a loaf of bread
- resources – natural, human and capital resources needed in the production process
Provide each group with a large piece of chart paper divided into three sections: natural, human, and capital. Have the groups cooperatively sort the cards to fit the three categories. Have them fill in the chart and display it on the wall. Discuss the completed charts and assess them for accuracy.
Ask students to re-read the story of the Little Red Hen to look for the tasks needed to produce the loaf of bread.
Record each task on a separate index card and arrange the cards in the proper sequence.
Have the groups share their sequence of tasks and initiate a discussion to have the total class come to consensus on the correct sequence.
Have each group contribute to a bulletin board display using pictures to illustrate the sequence of events used to produce bread by the Little Red Hen.
Use the bulletin board to initiate a discussion of the production process. Ask the following questions:
- How could the production process be improved so that the Little Red Hen could make more than one loaf of bread?
- Would more bread be produced in the same amount of time if work was shared by other animals in the story? Why?
- Write a letter to the Little Red Hen to tell her how resources could be changed so that she could produce more bread.
Divide students into groups of four or five. Have their chairs and desks arranged to form a common work surface. Give each student a new box of 8, 12 or 24 crayons per student (use boxes of all the same crayon count).
Determine by asking individual students at each group how many crayons of each color are in each box. For example, How many red crayons are in each box? How many are blue? Record the correct number of individual colors for each box as a reference.
Ask each student within each group to open their own box and spill the contents in a large pile in the middle, mixing up the crayons as they add more. Have your students carefully unfold the crayon box so that it is flattened.
It is now your job to put back together one box of crayons per student. We’ll keep track of how long it takes each group. You will have to put the correct crayon colors back into your box. Refer the students to the correct number of colored crayons in each box.
Raise your hand when you are finished, and I’ll record how much time it took on the board (keep track for each group). Do not keep track of which student has finished in which time; it is more important to see how long it takes to put all the boxes back together.
When all the boxes have been reassembled, add up the total time for each of the groups--e.g., group A took X minutes, group B took Y minutes, etc. Note: This is a good time to integrate mathematics.
Students should examine how long it took each group to finish the crayon-sorting. Can you think of a way to make the job easier?
You will want to encourage the idea of an assembly line or division of labor – for example, they might first sort the crayons according to color, then each student could place several crayons in the box and then hand the box to the next child until the box is back together, and filled properly. Or, all the students could work to sort the crayons and each could participate in the reloading of each box.
Have students do the sorting activity again, this time using the easier process. Record the time for this round. Have your students refer to the tip sheet if they need some help thinking of ways they could improve their assembly line.
Check for Understanding = Formative Assessment
Think about something you have produced either in school or at home.
- Why was the job easier?
- What happened if one of the students got behind?
- What happened when the work piled up?
- What if one of the students was ill on the day this work was to be done?
- What is the best way to produce the most cookies? Why?