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This is an introductory economics lesson on wants, needs, resources and scarcity


Social Studies  



Title – Wants, Needs, Resources and Scarcity
By – Joel Crosby
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 12 Economics

Unit/Instructional Sequence:

Introduction to Economics Course (First Unit)

Lesson Duration: 90 minutes

Lesson Overview:

  • The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the topic of economics to the students. They will learn what the word “economics” means as well as a few terms that make up the foundation of economics.
  • The focus of the lesson will be on the key economic factors of wants , needs , resources and scarcity . This will provide a foundation of knowledge for students to build on as they go through the course.

ECON-1.1 Principles:

Illustrate the relationship between:

  • scarcity and limited resources
  • unlimited human wants and the economic choices made by individuals, families, communities and nations including:
    • how families must budget their income and expenses
    • how people use psychological and intellectual resources to deal with scarcity
    • how local political entities as well as nation-states use scarce resources to satisfy human wants. (E, G)

Student Lesson Objectives:

The student will be able to:

  • define key economic terms including scarcity, wants/needs, and resources
  • identify examples of the above terms in their own lives
  • create a monthly budget




  • Paper
  • Pens/Pencils


  • Define the word ” economics ” on the dry erase board. Explain that economics is a part of everyone’s life. Explain that economics has affected students from the day they were born and will continue to affect them until the day they die. (5 minutes)
  • To start students thinking about economics, have them create an individual “KWL” chart for “what they know,” “what they want to know,” and finally at the end of class, “what they have learned” from the lesson. (5 minutes)
  • Have students take out another sheet a paper to list everything they could ever want in the world in 10 minutes. (10 minutes)
  • Go over these lists as a class and make a list on the board of all the different wants. (5 minutes)
  • Explain the definition of economics on the board and compare it to the list of wants/needs. Explain how their lists reflect humanity’s never-ending ” wants/needs/demands .” In a call and answer session, ask the students to consider what of their lists may be feasible to attain and what could likely never happen. Now, define the term ” scarcity ” on the board and explain to students that scarcity of a variety of ” resources ” such as land and money prevent us from getting what we want. (10 minutes)
  • Show students two 4-6 minute video clips that combine economics with humor and music. Instruct students to identify at least five wants that were shown in the videos as well as two ” resources ” that were mentioned. (15 minutes)
  • Briefly go over what the students wrote and examples for wants/needs and scarcity. (5 minutes)
  • Split the class into groups of four. The groups will create a budget that includes payments for power and rent as well as car payments, etc. in one column and the average monthly price they expect to pay in another column. Go over these worksheets with the class and evaluate which ones are more possible and how much salary it would take a year to be able to afford their budget. (25 minutes)
  • Conclusion:
    • Bring students back to the KWL sheet that they began at the beginning of class.
    • To complete the “l” or “learned” portion of the KWL, students participate in a “graffiti board” activity in which the students write down a short sentence about what they have learned.
    • The teacher then goes over the “graffiti board” with the students to summarize the lesson. (10 minutes)


  • Assess students informally throughout the lesson through call/answer questions and for participation within their groups
  • Be sure to make it known that the board definitions will become test questions and that the notes taken from class should be kept to be studied later.
  • Also, have the students turn in their notes from the two short movies for a participation grade for those who paid attention.

E-Mail Joel !

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