Basic Needs and Economic Sharing



Created by Emily Beck and Kirsten Bowen, with help from our cooperating teacher Sharon Cook from Edith Bowen Laboratory school, completed as part of the requirements for El Ed 4050 fall Semester, 1999, Jay Monson, course instructor, USU.


We feel that basic needs and economic sharing are important concepts that all kindergarten children should understand. Children should know that food, clothing and shelter are esssential for survival. They need to know that food and clothing come from other places other than the store and that all communities in the world are interdependent.

Our unit is a compilation of activities that entail an introductory KWL, graphing the children's homes, a collage of the three important basic needs, a discussion of how different foods are imported and exported and an activity exploring the advantages of economic sharing.

The following lesson plans come from the unit "Basic Needs and Economic Sharing." These two lessons are part of the economic sharing portion.


Bananas From Somewhere Else


Subject or topic: economic sharing

Time: 10-20 minutes


1. Objective: The students will understand that some foods must be imported and some foods are exported from where they live. The students will also informally define "economic sharing" and explain why it is important.

2. Motivation: After reviewing the three basic needs&emdash;food, clothing, and shelter--the teacher will show the students the bananas they will be having for snack. The teacher will then ask the children, "What group do the bananas fit in?"

3. Method(s): The teacher will ask the children, "Do bananas grow here in (place where they live)?" The teacher will then ask if they know where bananas grow. The teacher may show a picture of banana trees and fields. The teacher may then show the children on a map or globe where they live and where the bananas came from. The teacher may then ask the children, "How do you think the bananas got here?" The children may be led to suggest trains, trucks, planes, ships, etc. Finally, the teacher should say that she bought the bananas at the store. The teacher can explain that some foods grow in other places and that the grocery stores buy those foods from those places so that the children can eat them.

The teacher may then ask the children if they can think of anything that grows where they live and is sent to other places. If the children cannot think of anything, the teacher may provide an answer and ask the children how they think that product gets sent to other places. They should repeat the same answers as above&emdash;plane, truck, ship, or train.

The teacher should then lead the children to an informal definition of economic sharing&emdash;when people in one place have a lot of something and people in another place have a lot of something else, and the people in both places share what they have with those in the other area.

The teacher should then pass out the snack and allow the children time to eat.

4. Materials:

  • Bananas
  • Pictures of banana plants and fields
  • Map or globe

5. Assessment Procedure(s): The day following this activity the teacher should ask the children in a large group meeting area about what they ate for snack the day before. The teacher may also ask where the bananas grow and how they arrived in their classroom. The teacher will observe the responses of the students.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches


Subject or topic: economic sharing and Thanksgiving

Time: 30-40 minutes


1. Objective: The children will understand why countries participate in economic sharing.

2. Motivation: The teacher should read Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness or another Thanksgiving book about how the Indians and Pilgrims each provided different things for the Thanksgiving feast. The teacher should ask the children to identify the things brought by each group.

3. Method(s): The teacher should then relate the story to the previous lesson by explaining that just as the Pilgrims ate things brought by the Indians, the students ate bananas from another country the day before. The teacher should ask the students how they got the bananas. "Did they grow here where we live? Where do they grow? How did they get here so that we could eat them?" The children may review the forms of transportation that may have been used&emdash;truck, train, ship, and airplane.

The teacher should then explain the following activity. The students will work in four groups. Each group will represent a different country or place. One group will receive a loaf of bread. Another group will receive peanut butter. A third group will receive jelly; and the last group will receive napkins and popsicle sticks. The teacher should ask the children what they are going to do with what their country has on its table. "Will the group that received the napkins and popsicle sticks want to eat napkins and popsicle sticks for snack? Will the table that received jelly just want to eat jelly for snack? What can you do so that everyone may have the same snack?" The children may need to be prompted to discover what can be made from bread, peanut butter, jelly, napkins, and popsicle sticks. The children should be guided to the conclusion of sharing what they have at their tables with each person in the classroom. The children should then be reminded that each person needs a piece of bread, peanut butter, jelly, a napkin, and a popsicle stick. Ask the children how each of the materials will get to the other tables. They may be encouraged to drive truck, fly a plane, or be an engineer on a train, etc. to deliver the supplies to the other tables. The students should then be dismissed from the group meeting place to their respective tables.

When the children have the sandwich supplies delivered and have made their individual sandwiches the teacher may provide each table with a different supply for making koolaid. One table will have a package of koolaid, another table will have sugar, another will have a pitcher of water, and another will have the cups and mixing spoon. The teacher should again ask questions about what can be made and how each person may receive the same thing.

One pitcher of juice may not be enough for the entire class. The teacher may introduce the concept of supply and demand. When the juice runs out the teacher should say, "That's it." When the children that did not receive koolaid complain the teacher may ask the students what can be done. As they offer suggestions, the teacher should remind them that the other tables do not have any more supplies to provide. "Will water be okay?" Explain to the children that sometimes there isn't enough of something for everyone to have what they desire. After the children have offered suggestions the teacher may then admit that there are more supplies and again deliver the supplies for a second pitcher of water to the tables.

NOTE: This activity may also be done with muffins and butter if the class has access to a kitchen.

4. Materials:

  • Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness
  • Butcher paper to cover the tables&emdash;a different color for each table
  • Packages of koolaid
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Pitcher
  • Mixing spoon
  • Cups
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Bread
  • Knives or popsicle sticks for spreading
  • Napkins
  • Two muffin cups for each child&emdash;one to hold peanut butter and one to hold jelly

5. Assessment Procedure(s): The teacher will observe the comments made by the students during the class discussion.



 Homes Around the World by Bobbie Kalman

Houses and Homes by Ann Morris





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