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Needs vs Wants

Elementary

Description

In developed nations like Canada we live in a world of abundance where the desire for the latest products often outweighs the social and environmental costs of our purchases.  This lesson develops the financial decision-making skills of young students as they evaluate the non-monetary factors that add contentment to their lives.  A Loop Scoops video forms the basis of a series of hands-on activities where students will:

  • Define and distinguish between needs and wants.
  • Identify fundamental neccesssities that are shared by all people.
  • Describe how activities like spending time with family influences their personal happiness.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Active listening.
  • Reflecting.
  • Comparing and contrasting with a Venn diagram.
  • Communication.
  • Viewing, analyzing and responding to media.

Strengths

  • Personally relevant to students.
  • Teachers can use the PBS Lesson Builder tool to create additional assignments and quizzes.
  • The video and activities suit the young target audience.
  • The resource can be combined with other PBS companion lessons such as "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle".

Weaknesses

  • There is limited background information.
  • There is no direct support provided for age-appropriate action projects.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This lesson supports Grade K-3 outcomes surrounding needs and wants, sustainability and personal choices.  Math numeracy concepts related to money are also easily incorporated into the activities.  Students could use money manipulatives in a classroom "supermarket"  while learning about healthy food choices and budgeting.  An action project could also see a class work with school staff to prepare a free "Local Lunch" featuring organic produce donated by a community garden.

This lesson also supports additional learning about reusing and recycling.  Students could learn about the economic and environmental benefits of reducing waste with activities like a book swap or a community bottle drive.

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        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Numbers represent quantities that can be decomposed into smaller parts.
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Numbers to 20 represent quantities that can be decomposed into 10s and 1s.
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Numbers to 100 represent quantities that can be decomposed into 10s and 1s
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Fractions are a type of number that can represent quantities

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Quality of Life

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students examine their personal choices in conjunction with group discussions about global needs and wants which supports thoughtful reflection.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

This lesson engages students in meaningful, age-appropriate dialogue about the economics of our consumer habits.  The video also supports important discussions about the relationship between a consumer driven society and the associated social and environmental costs.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The analysis of individual and collective needs vs wants fosters  independent decision making where even very young students can recognize the global impacts of their consumer habits.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Within the lesson there are limited opportunities for action experience.  However the personal introspection can lead to a heightened awareness of the negative impacts of consumerism which could translate to positive changes at home and in the community.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

Students are able to analyze what is truly important in their lives.  This self examination will strengthen responsible consumer habits and nurture personal bonds with others.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Students describe personally satisfying social connections thereby developing an increased understanding of the value of human relationships.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered

Although nature is not the direct topic, students will recognize that indiviidual choices can have negative or positive impacts on the natural world around them.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

The analysis of needs and wants on an individual level provides an authentic learning experience. 

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not considered

This lesson examines the present, but an interesting extension could have students investigating how their needs could change over time in response to evolving technologies.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

Guided questioning is used to engage students in self-discovery where they develop meaningful insight into their own needs and wants compared to their peers.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

This resource supports Social Studies and Science outcomes related to exploring human needs and wants.  The content also provides opportunities to strengthen numeracy concepts related to money.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

The age level of this lesson requires a certain amount of guidance.  However, the individual reflections combined with group discussions provide an atmosphere where students can develop their own ideas.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

The use of video and verbal discussions will appeal to a wide range of learners.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

This resource focuses on active participation by each student to ensure a relevant experience.  Consequently, the potential for individual breakthroughs related to consumer habits and happiness is high.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Students work in groups while the video and subsequent discussions take place as a class.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

A "check for understanding" asks students to identify a non-monetary item that brings them happiness and to explore toy print ads for unrealistic marketing strategies.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

Early elementary students are able to hear from their peers which is an effective method for the development of new ideas and values.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Because this lesson focuses on the personal lives of students it provides a meaningful learning experience that should sustain further sustainability investigations.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Poor/Not considered
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.