Economics teaches students about the study of economics and what an economy is, and the difference between the two. Students will learn about goods and services and the concept of supply and demand. They will also learn to distinguish between needs and wants. They will understand that some things they want are just wants, but they are not necessities. Therefore, they are not needs.

The “Options for Lesson” section contains a fun suggestion to add to the lesson. You can visit the website listed there to open a Jeopardy game centered on needs versus wants. You can students play as individuals or in groups. The lesson suggests you start or end the lesson with this activity, but you are welcome to play it at any point. Feel free to get creative!

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What our Economics lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Economics introduces students to the basics of economy. They will learn to identify types of resources used to produce goods and services. They will also learn about the roles of producers and consumers in a free-market capitalist system. The lesson will teach them about the concept of supply and demand and its effect on producers and consumers. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.

Options for Lesson

In the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page, you will see some suggestions for additional activities or ideas to add to the lesson if you want to. For this lesson, you could play the game of Jeopardy! A terrific introduction or closing activity is to play Jeopardy with students. Go to Jefferson Labs at The Jeopardy game “Needs or Wants” can be played in teams or by individuals.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information to help guide the lesson and remind you what to focus on. It explains that a goal of this lesson is to teach students to make better financial decisions by explaining the economic framework. The blank lines on this page are available for you to write out thoughts and ideas you have as you prepare the lesson.



The Economics lesson plan contains two pages of content. You have probably heard the word economics or the word economy several times. More than likely, when you hear these words, the first thing you think of is money. Money is certainly one part of the definition. Economics is the study of how people choose to use their scarce resources in an attempt to satisfy their unlimited wants.

In simple terms, we all have something we want. Maybe a new bike, or a new phone, or video games. A want is something you wish for but is not necessarily essential to life. A necessity is something you absolutely have to have to live. For example, food, water, and shelter are necessities!

The lesson asks students to think of something they want and write it on the blank line. Then it asks, is the thing you wrote in the space absolutely necessary for your survival? How much does the item cost? (Again, students will write their answer. Can you afford to buy the item? If you are not able to buy the item, we say you don’t have the resources to pay for it. In this case, you don’t have the financial resources. Economics is how we decide to spend our resources.

Time as a Resource

One resource everyone has is time. Suppose you want to buy something but don’t have the money to pay for it. One way you can get the money is to earn it by doing something like babysitting, mowing lawns, or other chores. Time is a scarce resource, and how you use your time is another kind of economic decision. Rather than play video games, you can mow your neighbor’s lawn in exchange for a cash reward.

You are using your time to earn money for the item you want to buy. The lesson then asks students, is this a good use of your time? Students can write their answer on the line. It asks one more question: Can you think of other resources that are becoming scarce or in short supply? One more time, students can write their answer on the line.

What Economics Really Means

So, economics is the study of how we allocate any scarce (in short supply) resource. That includes time, money, and talent. We can even use natural resources like water and trees. If economics is the study of how people use scarce resources, then what does the word economy mean? Do they have the same meaning?

The economy is the total wealth and resources in a region or country. Everything produced, bought, sold, or traded is part of an economy. The goods and services we use daily are part of the economy. For example, say you rode a school bus to school today. A company made the bus and sold the finished product to the school system. The school system purchased the bus from the company with money from taxes your parents pay.

Even the bus driver is part of the economy. The bus driver is paid to drive the bus. After receiving their check, the bus driver may spend the money on things like housing, clothing, or restaurants. This means that they, too, are participating in the economy! How they choose to spend, however, relates to economics.

Producers and Consumers

You have learned that economics is the study of how people allocate their resources. The economy is all the goods and services a region makes, purchases, or trades for. Goods are stuff you buy like groceries or clothing. Services are things you buy, like lawn services or hair stylists. They provide a service in exchange for you paying them to do something for you like mow the lawn or cut hair. Goods and services are part of the economy.

When we make something, we call it a product. Products are the objects or things factories, and sometimes individuals, produce for sale. A factory or a person who makes something to sell to the public is what we call a producer. You only have to look around to see the number of products factories have made. Everything from the pencil you write with to the paper you write on came from a factory somewhere. You probably purchased the product online or in a local store.

A person who purchases goods or services is a consumer. We use the product or consume it. Consumers purchase goods and services from producers. We will use the notebook paper as an example. When you write on the paper, it is no longer good for anything else except maybe making a paper airplane!

We say you have used it up as a resource, or the resource is consumed. Consumers purchase goods and services from producers. They use the resource until they have to replace it or buy a new supply. Once you have written on every sheet of paper that came in the pack, you purchase more paper. The lesson ends with a summary of what students should have learned in the lesson.


The Economics lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will reinforce students’ comprehension of lesson material in different ways and help them demonstrate when they learned. Use the guidelines on the classroom procedure page to determine when to distribute each worksheet to the class.


Students will work alone for the activity portion of the lesson. The activity worksheet asks seven questions. Students will answer each of the questions and explain some of their answers.


The practice worksheet contains a table with three columns. The first column is for items. There are 15 rows of items listed. In the second column, students will mark whether the item is a need (N) or want (W). In the third column, they will explain the reason behind their answer.


For the homework assignment, students will fill out a table listing items they have consumed, or services they received in the last five days. They will mark whether the item was a good (G) or a service (S). They have to include at least seven services. Finally, they will have to explain whether a good or service can be both a need and a want.

Worksheet Answer Keys

At the end of the lesson plan document are answer keys for the practice and homework worksheets. The correct answers are in red to make it easy to compare them to your students’ work. Some answers may vary given the nature of the prompts. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade


Social Studies

State Educational Standards

NCSS.D2.ECO.3.3 – 5, NCSS.D2.ECO.6.6 – 8, NCSS.D2.ECO.3.6 – 8

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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It was a great intro lesson to the topic of Economics.