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C3 Teachers


K, 1st, 2nd


Social Studies, Economics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • Worksheet

Regional Focus




Needs and Wants

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  • In this set of economic and social studies lessons, students will consider their wants and needs, discuss how they meet them, and learn about the economic concept of scarcity. 
  • Students will sort images into needs and wants, brainstorm ways to meet their needs, and think about what happens when there isn't enough to meet everyone's needs or wants. 
  • The lessons can be completed in three to five 30-minute classes. 
Teaching Tips


  • This resource has everything you need to deliver an inquiry-based mini-unit on wants and needs. 
  • The picture sorts and class discussions are engaging and will allow students to come to their own conclusions. 
  • Appendix A offers a vocabulary list with definitions.

Additional Prerequisites

  • A subscription is needed to access some of the additional resources, but they are not necessary components of the unit. 
  • Students should be able to use scissors and glue to complete the picture sort. 


  • Cross-curricular connections could be made in health, language arts, and science classes. The following questions could guide other discussions:
    • What are healthy ways people meet their needs?
    • How can you control your emotions when you do not get what you want?
    • Can anyone remember a time we read about a character meeting their needs?
    • Can anyone remember a time we read about a character who got or didn't get what they wanted?
    • How do animals in the wild meet their wants and needs? 
  • The picture sort could be extended by asking students to find additional pictures in newspapers or magazines to cut out and sort. 
  • Advanced students could debate or defend their decisions on how to sort the three more ambiguous choices in the picture sort (lunch box, ice cream, family). 
  • Other related resources include this video about habitat basics, this digital book about turning water into energy, and this set of games that teach about environmental issues through play. 
Scientist Notes
This resource examines the basic economic concept of needs and wants. It contains relevant questions and tasks that can engage students to explore this economic concept and its applications, with the goal to ideate innovative economic solutions to curb resource scarcity in their locality. This is suitable for the classroom.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking and Listening (K-12)
      • SL.1.1 Prepare for and participate in conversations across a range of topics, types, and forums, building on others' ideas and expressing their own.
  • Social Studies
    • Personal Finance & Economics
      • Personal Finance: Students understand the nature of personal finance as well as key foundational ideas by describing how spending, saving, and sharing are ways to use money.
      • Economics: Students understand the nature of economics as well as key foundational ideas by explaining how people make choices about how to use scarce resources and make individual and collaborative plans to meet their own needs and wants.
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