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Economic Community


Social Studies  


4, 5, 6  

Title – Economic Community

By – Gretchen Gottschalk
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 4-6

Background: After teaching students the economic vocabulary words: producer, consumer, goods, and services, this lesson plan will bring it all together.

Purpose: To bring all of the economics information together in an effort to show students how economics effects everyday life

Time:30 minutes set up (before class)
45-60 minutes lesson time (can be done for two days if you would like to switch groups)(could actually be a week long activity)

Objectives: students will participate in a community like setting
students will make decisions to purchase items
students will add, subtract, and count money correctly
students will demonstrate understanding of the terms; goods, services, producer, consumer

Materials: may vary;
Monopoly money
plastic groceries (?)
stuffed animals (?)
pizza box (?)
brochures (?)
books (?)
clothes (?)

I had students bring in many of these things. The only thing I contributed was the money and the brochures. The books were already in my class library.

Set-Up:(before working with students)
Split the class in half and assign jobs to students. One half will actually work in stores, the other half will be customers. I have 20 students, so this works out great. If you have an odd amount, have there be one extra store owner. This is why materials may vary. I assigned them to work in the following stores: (necessary) post office, bank (variable) travel agency, pet store, pizza place, school, hair salon, clothes store, grocery store, and book store. The other students all had a house. I made name tags (pieces of paper I printed out on the computer for each place) that said either Sarah’s House, or Pet Store. I arranged desks so there would be a separate place for every store. I then taped the name tag to each specific area and laid out the supplies for the various stores. The kids’ houses were all in one area, and the kids just sat on the floor. (Some kids actually brought pillows and blankets) Then come up with tasks you want each child to do. (see below) I had each child visit each store and buy something. Whatever that something was, was up to the child. I made sure that no two children were doing the same thing at one time. (this took some time)I also gave the store owners lists of prices for their items and lists of questions to ask their customers. You are now ready to begin.

I told students the directions and their jobs the day before this lesson. That way, they could help me bring in items I didn’t have. The directions are as follows:
Store owners: you will be getting one piece of mail. This piece of mail will tell you the price to sell your items at, questions you should ask the customer, and any other job information that is necessary
Customers: You will be getting mail every “day.” This mail will tell you what store to go to on a particular “day,” and what to purchase at that store. You can make decisions, but make them wisely. When you are finished doing your task for the day, go to your “home” and go to “sleep.” The next “morning” you will be getting new mail. Do not begin your task until I ring the bell. If I ring the bell and you are still completing your task, return home and go to sleep.

Those are all the spoken directions necessary. The rest of the directions will be in their envelopes. Each child who is a customer will start with a different amount of money. I explained that not everyone has the same amount of money in real life. I also explained that some customers might be getting paychecks. I explained that the paychecks wouldn’t all be the same size because they aren’t in real life.

These are the pieces of paper I put in the envelopes:
Mailman – deliver mail to the customers every morning
stuff envelopes during the day
(put the tasks in the correct envelope. The tasks were already printed with numbers on them, and the names were already on the envelopes)

Bank – follow directions that the customer gives you
try to get students to open a new account for $100. Opening a new account will put them in the running for a trip to Jamaica.

Travel Agent – sell a trip to the customer. Ask questions like, “Where do you want to go? How many people do you want to take, What’s your price range, etc” Each trip costs $200.00 per person

Grocery Store – sell two items to the customer. Food items cost $3.00 and drink items cost $2.00.

Teacher – teach about plants (or whatever you are learning at the time)

Hairdresser – cut the customer’s hair. A girl’s cut costs $15.00, a boy’s cut costs $10.00. Talk them into getting their hair styled. A girl’s styling costs $10.00, a boy’s styling costs $5.00.

Book store – let customers browse book shelves. Suggest a good book or two. Paper back books cost $5.00, Hardback books cost $15.00.

Pizza Place – a customer will either come to your restaurant or ask you to make a delivery. A small pizza costs $6.00, a medium costs $8.00, and a large costs $10.00. Toppings are free

Pet store – sell a pet and food to a customer. Dogs cost $75.00, cats and other large animals cost $50.00, and small animals cost $25.00. Food for any animal costs $10.00

Clothing store – sell a piece of clothing to the customer. Jeans cost $20.00, and a shirt costs $15.00.

The store owners had to add the total cost of the items and give change to the customer.

The customers directions were almost all the same and are as follows:

Go to the pet store and buy any pet and pet food you want.
Go to the clothes store and buy at least one piece of clothing.
Go to the travel agency and plan a trip. Take as many people as you want.
Go to the teacher and learn about plants.
Go to the hairdresser and get your hair cut. You can get it styled if you want.
Go to the grocery store and buy two groceries.
Go to the book store and buy at least one book.
These two vary:
Go to the pizza place. Find a table and order a meal.
Call the pizza place. Order a pizza for delivery. Don’t forget to tip.

Go to the bank and collect a paycheck (amount varies)
Go to the bank and pay bills (amount varies)

Assess by having students answer these questions on a piece of notebook paper:
1. Name one person who was a producer.
2. Name one person who was a consumer.
3. Name one good that was being sold.
4. Name one service that was being provided.

There is not much teacher controlled learning in this lesson. The kids can do everything by themselves.
Tip: Make sure you have enough money so that each person can make change for the customers.

Adaptations: for older students. Have students balance a checkbook along with buying the products.

E-Mail Gretchen Gottschalk!

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