A Comprehensive, Low Prep, and Fun Elementary Economics Unit

As an elementary teacher, I definitely know that planning and preparing for multiple subjects is time consuming. And if you've experienced anything like me, you might be lacking social studies curriculum or resources in general. Now add in the fact that school will look a bit different this year with a hybrid schedule or remote learning, that's a lot to juggle! If you are looking for ways to teach primary economics in your elementary classroom, I've got you covered!

Why Teach Economics in Elementary?

Economics is such an important social studies discipline. It is essential that our young students have the opportunity to learn and apply economic concepts that pertain to decision-making and interactions between individuals, households, businesses, and societies.

You might be thinking that's a lot to cover, but this Primary Economics Unit has you covered!

Important Concepts to Cover:

If you aren't sure where to start, here are some important concepts that our young elementary students should know. All of these concepts are covered in my Primary Economics Unit, so you can be sure that you're hitting the bases.

People can make decisions about how to use resources to benefit oneself and others

- Explain the difference between a want and a need

- Explain why people have to make choices between wants and needs

- Identify the cost and benefits of making choices

Understands the basic elements of a community's economic system including producers, consumers, and goods and services

- Identify consumers and producers

- Give examples of how people earn income

- Explain why people save money

- Describe goods and services

- Understands consumer rights and responsibilities

Real World Examples are Most Helpful

These concepts might seem a bit complex, but using visuals with lots of real world examples can help our students understand these concepts more concretely. In this unit, I've included multiple slide presentations with examples for each concept. A printable student booklet is included so that students can fill-in information during the lesson. I've included a digital version too, so that students can type in the box instead.

Scenario Cards for Critical Thinking and Discussion

Providing time for students to apply what they have learned to real-world scenarios is super important. This resource includes scenario cards in both print and digital format that are perfect for critical thinking and discussion. These scenarios are kid friendly and applicable to experiences they may have had, or could relate to in some way or another.

Consumer Rights and Responsibilities

This concept is often overlooked. Do your students know how to be responsible consumers? Do they know the importance of reading labels, checking for damage before purchasing, or discussing price before agreeing to services? Do your students know what it means when a purchase says "sales final" or when they could return an item for store credit? All of these concepts are covered in this unit.

Creating a Savings Plan

This unit includes the opportunity for students to create a savings plan. Students can brainstorm ways to potentially earn money by helping others (like washing a car, raking leaves, or babysitting). This is one way to bring into discussion what makes a good trade, and can help our students understand the importance of a budget.

Analyzing Needs of a Country and Consumerism

Students will also have an opportunity to analyze the needs of a country and will also look at ways in which we are consumers each and every day. Putting on a t-shirt or socks or eating cereal are examples of consumerism that we don't even think about.

Centers and Digital Activities

With remote learning a great reality, this resource includes Drag & Drop Digital Activities. This is a fun way to practice understanding of key terms. A printable version is also included where students will sort pictures according to the correct term. This works well as a center activity. This could be done whole group or sent to students to complete on their own.

Assessing Student Understanding:

A short assessment worksheet is included that includes true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions. One option is to include the digital drag and drop activities or worksheets and graphic organizers.

All of the materials shared in this post are jammed packed in the Primary Economics Unit which you can find HERE.