First Graders have been hard at work investigating their local community. We began the year with a discussion of the difference between wants and needs, and how the buildings in our neighborhood can supply them. We then explored the difference between goods and services, and categorized buildings in our neighborhood that provide those things. We then focused on what kinds of stores provide the goods that we want and need.
With this in mind, children in Grade 1S came up with some ideas of stores they would find in our neighborhood. The class decided upon:
- A toy store
- A grocery store
- A pizza restaurant
- A clothing store
- A sporting goods store
Once our stores were decided, First Graders got right to work! They worked with a partner to make a list of 10 goods they might find for sale at their store. They carefully drew, colored, and labeled each good.
The next time we met together for Project Work, we gave our students an exciting opportunity. They now had the chance to “window shop” around all the stores, making a wish list of 20 goods they were interested in purchasing. This challenge allowed them to apply their growing understanding of wants and needs to a real-life situation. We talked about the meaning of a wish list, and children shared:
- “On a wish list, you might want something but you might not be able to have it.”
- “Window shopping means you look but you don’t buy.”
The goal for shopping was to select goods that met their wants AND needs for a week. With this in mind, First Graders armed themselves with clipboards, pencils, and their wish lists. They excitedly circulated the classroom making note of which items they thought would serve them best for a week.
We came back together at the end and talked about what happens when people shop for wants and needs. Often, families focus on buying the things they need first. We read a book Lily Learns About Wants and Needs by Lisa Bullard. In this story, a father and daughter discuss this topic while driving around their town. At the end of the story, Lily’s father tells her that when they have money left over after buying things they need, then they can purchase a “want” together.
The next day, we combined Project Work and Math Workshop. Each child priced the items in their store, between one and three tickets. Each child then made fifteen tickets to spend on their wants and needs (their wish lists), and they received a comprehensive price list for all five stores and a planning sheet for their shopping trip.
This helped them to organize and plan their economic decision making – they also used white boards, dry erase markers and snap cubes to help calculate how much their items cost.
Coming soon, First Graders will take turns shopping and selling goods in their stores, using wallets and shopping bags they designed themselves. Here’s to the next generation of responsible economic decision makers!
Grade 1S Head Teacher