This is a group of three lessons I use to get the kids using economic language like a professional, before we launch into the case studies that are history classes.
Part 1: Learners begin by discussing what the needs of humans are and what the wants are. Class work causes them to sort out what is a need and what is a want. After this, we look at how people prioritize their needs and wants. For this, I’ve used Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as an introduction to ordering values. There certainly are exceptions to his ordering, and that causes good discussion, too!
Part 2: Now we define some basic terms, such as goods and services, before we go to the meaning of price and value. This starts them off with lower-order thinking, such as defining and naming goods that are manufactured, grown or extracted, but lays the foundation for discussing the harder questions of what people value. We also cover what the types of services there are in our lives, such as trades, professions, personal services and government.
Part 3: Finally, we get to what we all expected earlier on in an economics discussion: supply and demand. Saving this for the end, the kids are now using grown-up terms (such as goods and value) with a solid knowledge foundation. Mind you – this is purposely kept simple for the sake of the age. So here you lead a discussion first about supply, then demand. First you define it, and then throw out questions to them. This ends the unit, and there’s a test included, with an answer key attached.
I end this product with a bit of advice called “Applying Economics 101 in History Classes”, with a few words about how to get the kids to use economists’ terms during the rest of the year’s studies.