Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of an elementary school student.
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Classroom Profile | Lesson Background

Read this information to better understand the lesson shown in the video.

Content: Economics
Economics is a social science that deals with the production, distribution, exchange, supply and demand, and consumption of goods and services. Even young learners encounter examples of economic concepts in their daily lives: scarcity of time and resources, the difference between needs and wants, making decisions about what to buy, and spending money. However, young children are also likely to have misconceptions about basic principles of economics. For example, they may not see a connection between jobs, work, and income, or they may believe that the value of money is related to its size and color.

Young students can build an economics vocabulary as they sort out labels that describe different economic processes. As they learn about the variety of jobs that exist in a healthy economy they also begin to understand the importance of cooperation and interdependence, competition, some of the factors that go into making business decisions, and the relationship between work and meeting one's needs. Some of the ways young students can explore abstract economic principles are by doing hands-on activities like making bread or pasta and then creating advertisements for the products they make.

Ms. Gonzalez's students working in the classroom.Teaching Strategy: Learning by Doing
Young children learn best when they have direct, hands-on experiences and when they can relate what they learn to what they already know. In this lesson, students explored basic principles of economics by making a product (bread) and writing advertisements for their product. Then they created their own Needs and Wants chart and discussed how buying decisions are made -- something they may already have experienced.

In addition to teaching students about supply and demand, the assembly line activity reinforced the value of the individual's contribution to a given process, the importance of working together, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing a job through to completion. It also encouraged social interaction, student engagement, and collaboration in meaningful work. As Ms. Gonzalez showed, learning by doing energizes students, sustains their interest, and exposes them to content from other subject areas like math, art, reading, and writing.

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