By: Kattie Ipson

Needs & Wants

Grade Level: 2


1. Students will define and individually write down the definitions of needs and wants.

2. The students will personally list and explain items that are wants and needs.



-Note cards



-2 boxes


1. "How many of us like to eat? How many of us want food? What would you feel like if you no longer had any food to eat, because someone took it from you?"

2. Discuss how the students would feel if food was taken from them and they were hungry. Would they like the people who took the food? Would they be happy? What would they do?

3. "We are beginning to talk about Human Rights today. One human right is the right to an adequate living standard and one aspect of this is having enough to eat. Let's list some things we 'want' and some we 'need.'" (List examples on chalkboard.) Realize that needs and wants will be different for each student, emphasize this fact to the students.

4. "Let's come up with some words or phrases that describe a 'want'." List on board. "List descriptions of the word 'need'." (These are definitions of the words, not examples.) A need involves items and things in life that are necessary for survival. A want is something that isn't necessary for survival, but is desired by a person.

5. Have the children cut out examples of "needs & wants" from various magazines. Paste clippings on note cards. Encourage talk among groups about what they are finding in the magazines.

6. After the class has compiled a pile of note cards take the class outside and have the students stand in 2 single-file lines. Put one pile of cards at the beginning of each line. At the START, have each team member pick up a card when they are at the beginning of the line. Have a race to the 2 boxes titled "WANTS" and "NEEDS." The students should be dividing the cards into either the "want" pile or the "need" pile.

7. After all the cards have been separated, go back in the classroom. With the students, discuss what cards were put in each box. The student who put the card in the box may have a reason for doing so which is different from other students. Give each student an opportunity to explain their reasoning and point out that needs and wants are different for everyone. An example of the difference in situation is; a person who lives 1 hour away from work has a need for a car. A person living in a rural village doesn't need a car, and may not even want a car.

8. Conclude by coming up with a summary of what wants and needs are to the students and give the assessment (quiz).

9. Tie the lesson back to human rights by talking about how people around the world often have needs and/or wants taken away from them. Talk about how this is a violation of human rights. Have the students make their own connections.


1. Students will complete a quiz to assess their understanding of the words "need" and "want". (see attached)



1. What is the definition of a "want"?


2. What is the definition of a 'need'?


3. List 3 needs you have and why they are needs.


4. List 3 wants you have why they are wants.