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This lesson plan involves Resource Management on a Float Trip


Social Studies  


2, 3  


Channa Bruening

Scarcity Float Trip

Grade Level : 2nd or 3rd grade

Length : 40-45 minutes

Performance Expectations :

In this lesson the students will learn the concepts of scarcity, resources, and choices, as well as be able to list supplies they would bring along with them on a float trip.

Materials : -student handouts, Wildcat River Float Trip



-five-gallon bucket

Procedures :


Ask the students if they have ever been on a float trip. Discuss with them what float trips are like. Tell the students that today they are going on a two day imaginary float trip down the Wildcat River. Space will be scarce. (For students who have had little or no experience with canoes, show pictures of canoes and discuss the limited space inside them). Next define and explain to the students what scarcity, resources, and choices are. Tell them that scarcity happens when thereƕs not enough of something you want. Resources are things we use to satisfy our wants. And the reason we have choices is because you can’t have everything you want, so you have to decide what things you want and what you will give up.


Give a copy of the handouts Wildcat River Float Trip to each student. Students may illustrate the handouts before or after the activity. Next divide the students into cooperative learning groups. Assign each group to work together to generate a list of supplies they want to take along with them on their float trip. Give students 10-15 minutes to read and explore the information provided on the handouts and create their list of supplies they want to take. When the group lists are complete, tell students that two people will be in each canoe and that each person will have two five-gallon buckets in which to pack needed supplies. Sealed buckets will keep supplies dry in case the canoe tips over. Tell students that the buckets will float and can also be used for stools to sit on by the campfire. (A five-gallon pickle bucket from the schools cafeteria would help students visualize the scarcity of space). Each group should now be eliminating the items on their list that they will not be able to take on the float trip because space is scarce. After each group has had an opportunity to look at their list, allow each group to share their list and the reasons for their decisions on what things to take. On the board compile a list of the items chosen by each group. Have the students make some conclusions about what items are the most popular, and why.


Ask the students what they learned from doing the scarcity float trip lesson. Go over again the terms scarcity, resources, and choices with the students. Explain to them that when wants exceed the resources available to satisfy them, some wants cannot be satisfied. Then people must decide what wants to fulfill, and choices must be made.

Assessment :

Have students submit a list of the items that they would bring along with them on their two day imaginary float trip. Evaluate these for accuracy, and for students understanding of the lesson. The students should also write a response in their journal about what they learned concerning the topics of scarcity, resources, and choices.

Adaptations/Considerations :

This lesson could be adapted to fit all developmental levels. For example, for students with lower developmental levels you could explain to them the concept of choices. And then have them follow through with the rest of the lesson. For higher developmental levels, at the end of the lesson have these students illustrate a bar graph from the list of items chosen by the students on the board. This would allow higher developmental students to further interpret the classes information.


Agency for Instructional Technology. (1989). Econ and me. Bloomington, Indiana: AIT.

C. Bruening, November 5, 1997.

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