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Economics - 3rd

Economics: Understanding Needs and Wants

Title: Needs vs. Wants: Making Wise Choices

Compliance Standard: Common Core State Standards - CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.1

Subject: Economics

Summary: This activity will help third-grade students understand the difference between needs and wants, and make wise choices when it comes to spending money.

Topic: Needs and Wants

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify and define needs and wants
  • Understand the difference between needs and wants
  • Apply critical thinking skills to make wise choices


This activity will be conducted in a group setting, encouraging collaboration and discussion among students. It will involve a combination of class discussions, hands-on activities, and individual reflections.

Resources/Materials Required:

  • Whiteboard or chart paper
  • Markers
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Magazines or catalogs
  • Printed worksheets (provided below)


1. Begin the lesson by asking students to define the terms 'needs' and 'wants.' Write their responses on the whiteboard or chart paper.

2. Facilitate a class discussion to help students understand the difference between needs and wants. Emphasize that needs are things we require for survival, such as food, water, shelter, and clothing, while wants are things we desire but can live without.

3. Distribute the printed worksheets to each student. The worksheet will have two columns labeled 'Needs' and 'Wants.'

4. Instruct students to cut out pictures from magazines or catalogs that represent different items or goods. They should then sort and glue the pictures into the appropriate column on their worksheets.

5. After completing the activity, encourage students to share their worksheets with their peers. Discuss the choices made and the reasons behind them.

6. Conclude the activity by having a class reflection. Ask students to think about a recent purchase they made and whether it was a need or a want. Have them share their reflections with the class.


To assess student understanding, review their completed worksheets. Look for accurate categorization of items into 'Needs' and 'Wants.' Additionally, listen to student reflections during the class discussion and reflection activity to gauge their comprehension of the concept.

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