Eek-onomics, Scary Science, and Monster Math

This year, we have decided to combine Economics with STEM and Literacy. We will be using real world activities to try to take the Eek out of Economics, the Scary out of Science, the Terror out of Technology, the Eerie out of Engineering, and the Monster out of Mathematics! Each lesson will start with a hook activity that requires using Economic concepts and Decision-Making. These hooks (movie clips, images, books, maps, artifacts, etc.) will then lead into a real-world STEM question. Each lesson will show how students need to understand Economic Decision Making as part of a real world STEM problem. For the STEM lessons, we will begin with some great examples from CPalms. Please feel free to send us your ideas so we can build this site!

The first lesson is Eek-onomics & Scary Science. Using the trailer from the movie Monsters Inc., students identify a scarcity problem that the monsters have and use scientific inquiry to solve the problem and make a decision.

Eek-onomics and Scary Science: Solve the Monsters’ Energy Crisis!

1) Discuss the movie with the students using some of the following questions: The monsters have a problem. It is harder to scare children; therefore, they are not able to produce enough energy to run their power company. What other sources of energy could they use to run their power plant? What are the costs/benefits of the different sources of energy? For example, compare and contrast renewable energy to other forms of non-renewable (fossil fuels).

2) Then conduct some research on renewable energy. What type of renewable energy would you recommend? Why?

3) After working out the monster’s problem, consider the real world. In this MEA (Model Eliciting Activity) lesson on CPalms, students are faced with a challenge: “Sunny Land Developing is about to develop a new community in Florida. Students are needed to make suggestions for the company’s choice of energy to integrate into the new homes. In this activity, students will review how people use electricity in their daily lives and learn about the differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources. Students will also be introduced to sound energy and how it is measured.” Although this is a third grade lesson, it could easily be adapted to any other grade level. This MEA has an excellent formative and summative evaluation and could be adapted to other grade levels!

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One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cents

Since Common Core State Standards emerged, informational texts have become very important in the classroom. Opposite to fiction, informational texts are classified under “non-fiction” texts. However, in elementary content areas, a hybrid form of text, a fact-packed book that uses fictional characters to provide information, is gaining popularity.

In Economics, these texts can be particularly useful. Take for example One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New CentIn this book, children learn about the history of money and the different attributes of currency.

This is an excellent text to use with third grade Florida Social Studies standards about the characteristics of money: Standard SS.3.E.1.2 Standard 1: Beginning Economics List the characteristics of money.

Dr. Suess book titled: One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent

While sharing this book in an interactive read-aloud, have your students take notes about the characteristics of money they find in the story. Conduct a shared reading of selections from pages 1-5 of the Federal Reserve Money text as a resource to help organize student information. For example, students can categorize their information under: 1) what is money?; 2) uses of money (medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value); and/or 3) the six characteristics of money (durable, portable, divisible, scarce, uniform and acceptable).    

Then, have students visit some other sites to validate and/or add to their facts:

 

U.S. Currency: Know Your MoneyU.S. Gov. Money Factory VideosBureau of Engraving and PrintingThe History of U.S. Currency

Performance Task: Students can collect their evidence and choose some images from the websites to create their own digital stories to show their knowledge. The easiest way to create digital books is to have students use PowerPoint (especially if they already know how to create slide shows). They can transfer their skills to use PowerPoint to make books that show digitally and can also print out.

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Apple Pie Economics for K-3

Are you looking for a great text to use in your classroom to expand economics concepts? Then you have come to the right place. On this post, I provide Economic-Based Questions (EBQ’s) for How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World and then follow the questions with CCSS tasks for K-3 educators to use with Florida NGSSS for Economics.

Cover: If you wanted to start your own store, what would you need?  need (see wants)? An entrepreneur

Page 1: What ingredients or productive resources does the little baker need to bake her pie?

Pages 2-3: Oh no! The store is closed, so she has scarce resources. What choices do you think she has to solve her problem of scarce resources? (You can stop and record their ideas).

Page 4: What does she decide to do?

Page 6: Watch for the goods she gets and services she uses on her trip. For example, on page 5, what transportation service is she using? On page 6, what good is she gathering?

Page 11:The little baker’s incentive was that she wanted to find the best ingredients in the world. What might be the consequences?

Page 12:  What are the productive resources?  Let’s watch for/label some natural, human, and/or capital resources with sticky notes (you may want to go back and label these together).

Pages 24-25: What are the tools or capital resources the little baker uses to make the pie?

Pages 26-27: Remember on pages 2-3 when the store was closed for ingredients. Let’s review our choices. Now, what alternatives does she have if the store is closed and she wants ice cream? (Possible choices: buy at another store, make it, travel around the world to get the best ingredients to make it, or don’t buy it).

Page 29: Aha! So she decides not to buy the ice cream. What is the opportunity cost of her decision? Remember the opportunity cost is the next best choice among alternatives…

Last Page: What were the possible consequences of the little baker’s decision to travel the world to make her pie? Did she use money or other currency? What would her adventure cost?

Think about the decisions you would make if you were the baker. What would you do?

After Reading: Use “Focus Econ-cepts for Grades” to reinforce specific standard concepts.

FOCUS EBQ’S FOR K-3 EDUCATORS:

FOCUS ECON-CEPTS FOR GRADES BASED ON STANDARDS  (ECON-CEPTS IN ITALICS)

K: K:SS.K.E.1.1 Describe different of jobs that people do and the tools and equipment used.

Before Reading: What are the tools and equipment needed to make an apple pie? What jobs do people do to make pie (ingredients)?

During Reading: Thumbs up for tools or jobs.

After Reading: Let’s review the tools and jobs.

1st Grade: 1 SS.1.E.1.6. Distinguish people as buyers, sellers, and producers of goods and services.

Before Reading: Pretend you want to make an apple pie. What goods/services would you use?

Who would be the buyers, sellers, producers?

During Reading: Thumbs up for econ-cepts.

After Reading: Let’s review the goods and services. Who were the buyers, sellers, and producers of these goods and services?

2nd Grade: SS.2.E.1.1 Recognize that people make choices because of limited (scarce) resources.

Before Reading: In this story, the little baker wants to make an apple pie but has scarce ingredients. Let’s see what choices she makes.

During Reading: Thumbs up for scarcity/choices.

After Reading: Complete a decision tree (p. 140 in Teaching Economics Using Children’s Literature)

3rd Grade: SSS: Recognize that buyers and sellers exchange goods and services through trade or money.

Before Reading: What goods/services would you want to make a pie? How could you use money or trade? Who would be the buyers and sellers?

During Reading: Focus on the problem of scarce resources. Then thumbs-up for other econ-cepts.

After Reading: How did buyers and sellers interact to exchange goods and services? What was missing? (money discussion—find prices or trade for goods).

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Cupcake Economics With Fancy Nancy (K-2)

Do you love Fancy Nancy? Do you want to teach Economics concepts while you read children’s literature? Then you need these economics-based questions (EBQ’s) to accompany Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes. This lesson can be used with K-2 grades. First you will find the EBQ’s that can be used in general. Following the EBQ’s, find CCSS tasks based on NGSSS for Social Studies Economics for K-2

ECONOMICS-BASED QUESTIONS (EBQ’S) FOR FANCY NANCY AND THE DELECTABLE CUPCAKES

During Reading: During reading, there are perfect opportunities for discussing these econ-cepts.

Cover: Fancy Nancy is making cupcakes. What goods do you need to buy at the supermarket to make cupcakes? Look at the picture. What are some of the resources she is using?

P. 6: There is a bake sale at school the next day. The bake sale is to raise money for library books. How does that work? How does the school make money from the bake sale? (People donate goods/ services)

P. 12: At the market, what goods does Nancy’s mom buy? These goods will be used to make other goods–cupcakes–so they are called intermediate goods. What are the natural resources that were used to create these goods? (sugar cane, wheat, etc.)

P. 13-15: Capital resources are the tools used to make the cupcakes. What tools are used? Human resources are the people who help make the cupcakes. Who are the human resources and what jobs are they doing?

P. 19: Nancy is making a deal with a friend to exchange 2 brownies for 2 cupcakes. Does that make money for the school library? How does that exchange benefit Nancy and her friend? Nancy will exchange some cupcakes for other goods. She will also sell cupcakes in exchange for currency-money.

P. 25: After Nancy’s disaster where the dog eats the cupcakes, her father also brought home resources to make cupcakes. What goods did he have in his bag? Were these the same goods mom bought? Anything different? Do you remember what you call goods that are used to make another product? That’s right! Intermediate goods. They are in the middle of being goods themselves (flour, sugar, etc.) and being made into another product (a cupcake).

P. 27: What jobs were people doing on pages 25-27 in order to make cupcakes? What equipment (capital resources) or tools did they use? Was there anything different from the tools on pages 13-15?

P. 29-30: The bake-sale! Who are the buyers? Who are the sellers? What are all of the goods for sale? How do you think people paid for the baked goods? Where do you think they stored the money?

After Reading: Use “Focus Econ-cepts for Grades” to reinforce specific standard concepts.

FOCUS ECON-CEPTS FOR GRADES BASED ON STANDARDS  (ECON-CEPTS IN ITALICS)

 

K: K:SS.K.E.1.1 Describe different of jobs that people do and the tools and equipment used.

Before Reading: What are the tools and equipment needed to make cupcakes? What jobs do people do to make cupcakes?

During Reading: Thumbs up for tools or jobs.

After Reading: Let’s review the tools and jobs. Now let’s make our own cupcakes or watch a video and find out what other tools and equipment are needed. Students can draw a picture or make a comic about how cupcakes are made.

1st Grade: 1 SS.1.E.1.6. Distinguish people as buyers, sellers, and producers of goods and services.

Before Reading: Pretend you want to make cupcakes. What goods/services would you use?

Who would be the buyers, sellers, producers?

During Reading: Thumbs up for econ-cepts.

After Reading: Let’s review the goods and services. Who were the buyers, sellers, and producers of these goods and services? Now put in your own ideas. If you were going to have a cupcake stand, where would you get your goods? Who would be the seller? How would you get buyers/customers? Would you advertise? Make your poster/advertisement.

2nd Grade: SS.2.E.1.1 Recognize that people make choices because of limited (scarce) resources.

Before Reading: Fancy Nancy wants to help the library bakesale. When the dog eats her cupcakes she has scarce resources. What choices does she have?

During Reading: Thumbs up for scarcity/choices.

After Reading: What if Nancy’s dad didn’t bring home ingredients? What could they have done? What choices would they have? What decision would you make?

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Alexander Used to Be Rich . . .

One of my favorite books for integrating real-world mathematics and economic/financial literacy is Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday.

KidsEconPosters has some great EBQ’s (Economic Based Questions) to use while reading the story.

Now, let’s extend this into real-world mathematical problem solving! Here are some questions to guide the inquiry:

Problem Solving Inside the Text:Follow the trail of money through the story. Create money pictures and/or equations to represent Alexanders exchanges.

What was Alexander’s money problem at the end of the story?

Let’s start at the beginning of the text again. What happens if we change some of Alexander’s money decisions?

Problem Solving Beyond the Text: 

$20.00 from NewMoney.gov

$20.00 from NewMoney.gov.

Create your own money problem. Imagine you received twenty dollars from your favorite aunt. Would you spend it all? What would you buy? Would you save some or all of it?

Draw a picture to explain your financial activities and illustrate your mathematical problem solving decisions. Videotape your discussion to show what you know or use a whiteboard app on a mobile device-like ShowMe to demonstrate how you figured out the answer.

Specimen $100 from NewMoney.gov

Explore More for Econ: Explore the new $100.00 note with the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing NewMoney.gov. Check out the New Security Features tab and click on the Explore Interactive Note button for a very cool virtual tour of the $100 dollar bill, as well as the $5, $10, $20, & $5!

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CSI-R for 2nd Grade: Limited Resources-From Sheep to Sweaters

In this lesson, created by Rachel Pages of Pinellas County, FL, and Deborah Kozdras of the USF Stavros Center, students learn how people make choices  based on limited resources. This lesson, in two parts, uses a paired fiction and non-fiction text. 

Part 1: Fiction Text: Charlie Needs a Cloak

C- Choose your Content

Recognize –people make choices because of limited resources.

•Essential Question:

Why did Charlie need a new cloak? What did he choose to do to solve this problem (of limited resources)?

Sample Disciplinary Vocabulary:   Scarcity, choices, resources

S-Select the Standards CCSS Standards for Literacy: RL.2.1, RL.2.2, RL2.4,W2.2

NGSSS Standards for Economics:  

I-Identify texts & text-dependent questions for Investigation

Use Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaula. You can also use the PBS video version.

Before Reading: Discuss the text. What kind of text is this? (fiction). Who is the author? When do you think this story took place?

While you read, ask the following text-dependent questions:

1)What is Charlie’s problem? (needs a new cloak)

2)Why does he want a new cloak? Does he have a new cloak? When we don’t have something we want, we say we have scarce or limited resources. What resource was limited for Charlie?

3) Charlie has to make a choice to solve his problem of scarce resources. What does he decide to do?

4) What natural resources does Charlie need to make his cloak? (As you read, have students search for evidence of resources that are needed to make the cloak). What are some of the capital resources (tools) Charlie needs? What are the human resources (jobs) that are required to make the cloak?

R-Reporting options

Reporting, considered as a Performance Task, is an essential part of CCSS. The reporting must be tied to the essential question in a CSI-R lesson.

  1. Fold the paper hamburger style. On one side label the page “Charlie’s Problem.” On the other side, label the page “Charlie’s solution.” Using the evidence gathered from the text  students draw a picture and write a sentence or two explaining Charlie’s problem with limited or scarce resources on one side and the solution he chose-to make the cloak-on the other side. Students should use the vocabulary of economics: scarce resources, wants, needs, choices.
  2. As an extension, students can label the different kinds of resources (natural, human, capital) on their diagrams.
  3. For extension questions and ideas for interdisciplinary lessons, see the following:
    1. KidsEconPosters Literature Connection for Charlie Needs a Cloak
    2. Patterns for story retelling
    3. Excellent Interdisciplinary Lesson for Charlie, including sequencing cards

Part 2: Non-fiction: Then and Now

C- Choose your Content

Recognize –people make choices because of limited resources.

Recognize – people supply goods and services based on consumer demands.

•Essential Questions:

I want a sweater now! What natural, capital (tools), and human (workers) are needed to go from sheep to sweater? How is this different from Charlie’s experience?

Sample Disciplinary Vocabulary:   Scarcity, choices, resources

S-Select the Standards

CCSS Standards for Literacy: RL.2.1, RL.2.2, RL2.4,W2.2

NGSSS Standards for Economics:  

I-Identify texts & text-dependent questions for Investigation

Use this How It’s Made Video and From Sheep to Sweater by Liza Paul (available online)to have students identify how people supply goods and services to produce sweaters. How do they go from Sheep to Sweaters?

Before Reading: Ask students to use their own written texts from Part 1. They review how the wool went from sheep to Charlie’s cloak. Ask students if they could make a cloak from sheep in the classroom? Why? What is scarce? Do we have the natural resources (sheep/wool)? Do we have the human resources (workers/skills)? Do we have the capital resources (tools/equipment)? No. We have limited resources to make sweaters! So now as you view the video and read the text, discover how different workers solve the problem of these limited resources. Let’s see how people supply goods and services to satisfy the want of a sweater! Every time you see a resource (workers, tools, natural resources), give a thumbs up and we will stop to discuss the resource.

During Reading: Students determine stopping points, unless they miss some of the key resources. Record their responses on chart paper/board, etc. They can also take notes in a little notebook. Your questions can help guide their understanding of steps in the process.

After Reading: Discussion questions should help students identify the steps, but also the interactions between the steps. At each step, what choices were made? What goods/services were needed at each step to satisfy consumer wants?

Other Informational Texts:

From Sheep to Sweater by Robin Nelson

Real Men Wear Wool as an informational text.

Sheep USA (especially pages 12-14)

Activities for text From Sheep to Sweater (by Liza Paul but fit other texts)

R-Reporting options

Reporting, considered as a Performance Task, is an essential part of CCSS. The reporting must be tied to the essential question in a CSI-R lesson. I want a sweater now! What natural, capital (tools), and human (workers) are needed to go from sheep to sweater? How is this different from Charlie’s experience?

  1. Label a piece of paper “From Sheep to Sweater” and have students describe the processes required to satisfy the limited resources of having a sweater.  They label the steps and describe the differences between Charlie’s self-production and what happens today when people specialize with different jobs to satisfy wants. Students should use the vocabulary of economics: scarce resources, wants, needs, choices.
  2. As an alternative performance task, students can use an Interactive Whiteboard App (Like Show Me) to write and describe what they learned. Alternate similar digital tasks include using a movie making program (iMovie, MovieMaker, etc.) or slide show (PowerPoint) to label and narrate a text that describes the processes and answers the questions.

Extension/Substitution Ideas

Goat in the Rug by Charles Blood and Martin Link as told by Geraldine – Use this text to match with or substitute for Charlie Needs a Cloak. The text provides a similar construct: progressing from the natural resources of the goat hair to a final product of a rug. If you want to match it with an informational text, use the Goat in the Rug informational text from the American Sheep Industry

1) Comprehension Questions with answers for Goat in the Rug from KidsEconPosters

2) Economics Lesson from the Federal Reserve for Goat in the Rug. 

3) Econ. Lesson from EconEd.org with little book of Goat in the Rug

4) Excellent informational texts and lesson ideas to use with Goat in the Rug are provided by the American Sheep Industry

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CSI-R Kindergarten: Jobs and Tools

In this lesson, created by Deborah Kozdras of the USF Stavros Center, students learn about workers, the jobs they do, and the tools/equipment they use.

C- Choose your Content

Describe: different kinds of jobs that people do and the tools or equipment used.

•Essential Question:

What are some jobs people do? What tools or equipment do they use in their jobs?

Sample Disciplinary Vocabulary:   Worker, job, tools, equipment

S-Select the Standards CCSS Standards for Literacy: RL.K.1, RL.K.2, RL.K.7, WK.2

NGSSS Standards for Economics:  SS.K.E.1.1 Standard 1: Beginning Economics. Describe different kinds of jobs that people do and the tools or equipment used.

I-Identify texts & text-dependent questions for Investigation

Choose at least two of the “text” choices below to engage your students in conducting research to answer the question: What are some of the jobs people do and what tools/equipment do they use? Students use recording notebooks to make notes about the jobs they see people do and the tools/equipment necessary for the jobs.

 Before Reading: Ask students to pay attention as you read to see if they can figure out the jobs people do and the tools they are using when they do those jobs.

During Reading: Students point out the tools and equipment on each page.

After Reading: Students draw & label jobs and the tools used that they found in the story/interactive

Text 1: Read one book from Scholastic Community Club Books about workers together. Then assign students into small groups to read/listen to another book and record the jobs & tools they found in their book. After reading, they share the information.

Text 2: Watch one PBS Mr. Rogers Videos about how common items are made,  together. Then students join in groups to watch another video and record the jobs/tools they see used.

Text 3: reading the first chapter of the book, What Do People Do All Day? By Richard Scarry (available online). Record jobs and tools.

Text 4: Use the Richard Scarry BusyTown Mysteries.  While navigating through BusyTown, students search for jobs and the tools/equipment used. They add these to their recording notebooks. 

R-Reporting options

Reporting, considered as a Performance Task, is an essential part of CCSS. The reporting must be tied to the essential question in a CSI-R lesson. You may wish to use the rigorous writing task, based on LDC Template Tasks:

“After reading/viewing some of the texts on workers, create a little book with pictures and words that describes the workers’ jobs and the tools or equipment they use. Use what you find in the texts to create your book.”

  1. While students are investigating the texts, they use their recording notebooks to draw/write about the jobs/tools they experience in the different texts.
  2. Each student chooses their one favorite page in their booklet to share with the class. As they share, they describe the job and the tools. Then they tell the audience why they chose that particular job as their favorite.
  3. Extension: Students interview two or three adults about their jobs and the tools and equipment they use. If they have a mobile device, they can videotape the interviews. Otherwise, they can record their findings to bring back to school to share.
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