EconEdLink is an excellent resource for economic lesson plans based on children’s literature. For example, check out this lesson on the Costs and Benefits of the Three Little Pigs and use this online Three Little Pigs story. The lesson is based on economic decision making. In the lesson, students discuss the costs and benefits of the decisions the pigs made about building their houses. You can bring this story into upper elementary and middle school grades and use the PACED model of economic decision-making to evaluate the costs and benefits of building the three houses. Then, watch this fractured fairy tale of the Three Little Pigs. Bring the pigs into the 21st century and discuss responsible credit and the perils of the housing crisis.
Three Little Pigs from Guy Galer on Vimeo.
Now use the PACED model to evaluate the credit decisions made by the three little pigs. For more information on the credit/housing crisis, refer to these free economics videos available on Academic Earth.
Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen is about a 12-year old who takes a summer job mowing lawns because he is broke (scarcity of money). He makes a choice to mow some lawns with his grandpa’s old riding lawnmower. This book has so many possibilities for economic education! I will break it into sections. This week, I’ll focus on the concept of resources necessary for a lawn-mowing job.
Before reading, introduce the topic of a student taking a summer job to mow lawns. Use the ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool to create a graphic organizer while students brainstorm all of the resources that would be necessary for this job. For example, he would need a lawn mower, as well as the gasoline and oil to run the machine. What else would he need? Think about his time–human capital. Think about other things he would need. Then, during reading, students can find more resources necessary for this entrepreneurial adventure. Finally, after reading, they can compare notes and rethink the initial web.
Check out Rutger’s EconKids Suggestions for more ideas on how to use this book for economics concepts.
The Island of the Blue Dolphins is a story of Karana, an American Indian girl who survives on an island for many years.
Economic Vocabulary: natural resources, human resources, capital resources, scarcity, trade, tribal currency/capital, division of labor, specialization, conservation.
There are many opportunities to discuss economics when you use this book. For example you can have children search for the productive resources she needed to survive. You can compare the island economy to the early Colonial economy. Use the ReadWriteThink Compare Contrast Map to create a planning sheet to write a compare/contrast essay.
You can have children discuss the culture and economy of the tribe. In fact, an educator used a blog to ask students questions about the economy of the tribe on this Teacher’s Web blog . If you wish to start a blog for students to post their answers to a question, you can create a free blog with WordPress –the same blog I used to create this site!
For more lesson ideas using this award-winning children’s story, check out this ReadWriteThink Lesson Plan: Examining Island of the Blue Dolphins Through a Literary Lens.