Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Little Dose of Economics

Happy First Day of Summer! Even though my summer really started June 7th! I wanted to share one of my favorite units that I have taught in my three years. This year the district I was teaching is started our focus on Project Based Learning, so my teammate and I decided that our First Grade Economics Unit would be a great place to experiment with some PBL. I was so happy how well my students did with their projects. Here's the breakdown of how the unit worked in my classroom!

Week 1
LOTS of front-loading with Smartboard Lessons and thinking maps. (FYI: I am HUGE on thinking maps and have seen amazing results from using them in every content area!) We discussed and analyzed the basic needs of humans, compared and contrasted needs vs. wants, goods vs. services, and finally consumers vs. producers. We even included a few BrainPOP videos after our lessons to solidify and review our new material! The kids ate up the material and loved learning the new information. But...they were ready to get their hands busy! On Friday, the kiddos shared the results from the person they interviewed about family economics. It was so precious to hear the students discuss how their parents make decisions and explain what their real families wants and needs are! (The kiddos discussed how they didn't need all the toys from the toy aisle and they need groceries more...hopefully this stuck that weekend when they made their way to the store with the parents....)

Week 2
The second week brought a little bit more front-loading to determine why and how to save money and to also evaluate the best ways to make a family function economically. Once the students were STUFFED FULL of knowledge they were ready to APPLY what we had been learning. The students were put into groups of 3 to make their "First Grade Family." We brainstormed a list of ways to earn money in first grade (so their family could earn an income) and then determined the value of the service. Within the family, they had a checklist of what was expected of them from their project.

Their task - create a product and market it! They created a  product that was either a good or a service that would meet the needs and wants of their consumers. They were SO excited to be the producers. After they brainstormed their ideas, they worked together to use materials they needed to create their products. Once their product was complete, they designed a poster to display in their "store."

The day was finally here for my class to sell their products to the other first grade class. (They were working on the same unit!) The little nuggets did a wonderful job explaining their product (like a mini-commercial) and marketing them to meet their consumers wants and needs. The students made jewelry, lemonade, lollipop bundles, bookmarks, and magnets. After our class was finished selling their products, we took a little field trip to the other first grade classroom and took on the role of consumer. The "families" worked together to make decisions on what to buy based on how much money they had saved. What a great, hands-on project! Everyone worked so well together and I was SO impressed by the conversations I overheard about decision making!

After our busy day of buying and selling, we took some time to reflect on the choices they made in the store. The students worked together to discuss and evaluate their purchases and their decision making.

Take a look at the students in ACTION! 

Buying/Selling Lemonade

Their Magnificent Magnet Store

Explaining their Luscious Lollipop Store (a BIG WANT!)

I'm not sure who loved this or the kiddos! If you like what you see, you can head over to my TpT Store to purchase this unit! Please comment below, I would LOVE to hear how you incorporate PBL in your classroom! 

Happy Teaching SUMMER!


  1. Hi Sarah!
    I took the PBL class a few weeks ago, and am excited to implement my idea when school starts. I am moving from 3rd to 1st grade, so this will be a great learning experience for all of us. We are going to work on maps, starting with mapping the classroom and culminating in a school map and a geo-caching activity (treasure hunt) with 5th grade buddies. I CAN'T WAIT! :)

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