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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)


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 distribute the needs and wants sorting cards (printed worksheets) to each group.

Ask the students to cut out the pictures from magazines or catalogs that represent needs and wants. They should then glue the pictures onto the appropriate category on their sorting cards.

After completing the activity, have each group share their sorting cards with the class, explaining their choices.

Step 3: Wise Choices Collage (20 minutes)

Provide each student with a piece of construction paper, scissors, glue sticks, and magazines or catalogs.

Ask the students to create a collage that represents making wise choices. They should cut out pictures of items they consider to be needs and wants, and glue them onto their collages.

Encourage students to think critically about their choices and discuss why they believe certain items are needs or wants.

Step 4: Reflection (10 minutes)

Have students individually reflect on the activity by answering the following questions on a separate sheet of paper:

  1. What did you learn about needs and wants?
  2. Why is it important to understand the difference between needs and wants?
  3. How can understanding needs and wants help you make wise choices?

Step 5: Discussion and Assessment (10 minutes)

Conclude the activity by facilitating a class discussion based on the students' reflections. Use their answers to assess their understanding of the concept of needs and wants, as well as their ability to apply critical thinking skills to make wise choices.


Assess students' understanding of needs and wants through their participation in the sorting activity, their collages, and their written reflections. Look for evidence of their ability to differentiate between needs and wants, as well as their understanding of the importance of making wise choices.

By the end of this activity, students should:

  • Know the definitions of needs and wants
  • Understand the difference between needs and wants
  • Be able to apply critical thinking skills to make wise choices

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