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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
  • Magazines or catalogs
  • Printed worksheets (provided below)


Step 1: Introduction (10 minutes)

Begin the lesson by asking students what they think the terms 'needs' and 'wants' mean. Write their responses on the whiteboard or chart paper.

Explain that needs are things we must have to survive, such as food, water, and shelter. Wants, on the other hand, are things we desire but can live without.

Step 2: Needs vs. Wants Sorting Activity (15 minutes)

Divide the class into small groups and provide each group with a set of construction paper, scissors, and glue.

Ask the students to cut out pictures from magazines or catalogs that represent different items or goods. They should then sort these pictures into two categories: needs and wants. They can glue the pictures onto the construction paper accordingly.

After completing the activity, have each group present their sorting and explain why they classified each item as a need or a want.

Step 3: Wise Choices Worksheet (20 minutes)

Distribute the printed worksheets to each student. The worksheet will have a list of different items or goods, and students will have to decide whether each item is a need or a want.

Encourage students to think critically and discuss their choices with their group members. They should provide reasons for their decisions.

After completing the worksheet, review the answers as a class, discussing any differences in opinions and reasoning.

Step 4: Reflection (10 minutes)

Ask students to reflect on what they have learned about needs and wants. Have them write a short paragraph explaining why it is important to understand the difference between the two and how it can help them make wise choices in their lives.


Assess students' understanding through their active participation in the sorting activity, their completion of the worksheet, and their reflection paragraph. Look for evidence of their ability to differentiate between needs and wants and apply critical thinking skills to make wise choices.

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