Key Concepts and Resources

Teachers of grades 1-8 can address both economic and the NEW financial concepts that are supported by hands-on lessons. Concepts and lessons are organized by grade levels below.

Teacher Tips:

Images should: 

  • be simple and straightforward with minimal text.
  • not include definitions as a part of the poster.
  • relate concepts to humans, not animals, whenever possible.
  • be colorful, avoid dark backgrounds.

Essential questions are offered as guidance. Students may choose to address an essential question in their drawings, however, they are not required to do so. 

Goods are tangible objects desired by consumers and supplied by producers; Services are activities performed by someone for another. Note: Poster entries must illustrate both concepts.

Lesson: - The Difference Between Goods and Services

Essential questions:

  1. How are goods and services produced, consumed, and exchanged to satisfy needs and wants?
  2. What skills and knowledge are needed to produce particular goods and services? (SS.EC.2.1)
  3. Which goods and services are produced in your local community and which are produced elsewhere? (SS.EC.3.2 & 2.3)
  4. What goods and services are provided by government? (defense, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, environmental protection, law enforcement, education, interest payments on national debt, roads, public welfare, public safety, etc.) (SS.CV.1.2 & SS.EC.FL.3.3).
  5. Explain choices people make when consuming goods and services.

People have limited time and limited resources. Whenever a choice is made, an alternative is given up. Opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative that is given up.  The evaluation of choices and opportunity costs is subjective and differs by individual. Note: Drawing must incorporate both concepts, and identify which choice was selected and which option is the opportunity cost. Tip: Because people make choices, it’s helpful to include the person making the choice in the drawing.


Opportunity Cost – Consumers 

Beatrice's Goat

Essential questions:

  1. Show how “Choosing is refusing;” one choice can only be accepted by refusing another. Opportunity cost is an opportunity lost.
  2. Why must we give up our opportunity cost every time we make a choice?
  3. How do limited resources affect my choices?

People trade many different kinds of work they do for money. Tip: Poster entries must illustrate human resources at work as their work relates to the production of a good or service. The drawing should explain how people earn income in exchange for work and could feature many different types of workers, each producing a different good or service in exchange for income or the many different workers needed in the production of one single good or service (i.e. How many workers does it take to make a carton of strawberries? Farmers to grow, field workers to pick, truck drivers to deliver, factory workers to sort and package, check-out clerk to sell to consumers).


We Can Earn Money (or) Working Hard for a Living  

Booker T. Washington:"Fifty Cents and a Dream" 

Essential questions:

  1. Show how work provides income to purchase goods and services.
  2. What is the best job for you?
  3. How do career choices affect personal income?

People can choose to spend or save their income. To save money, people give up spending now in order to buy goods and services in the future. By saving, people may be able to buy more or better things in the future. The drawing must illustrate both concepts.


Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday 

Bunny Money 

Essential questions:

  1. Identify how saving for a purchase occurs over time.
  2. Explain reasons and ways people save and spend money. (SS.EC.FL.3.3)
  3. Show a personal spending choice, including how you plan to earn and save the money to achieve your choice.
  4. Why is it important to make responsible saving and spending choices?

Productive Resources are the natural resources (occur naturally in the earth, i.e. oil, trees, minerals, water, soil), human resources (labor provided by workers), and capital resources (goods made by people and used to produce other goods and services, i.e. tools, machines, factories) available to make goods and services. Note: Poster entries must illustrate and identify all three types of resources as they relate to the production of a good or service.


Mystery Workers  

The Productive Blues (Jeans)

Essential questions:

  1. Using yourself as the human resource, demonstrate a personal example of using productive resources to produce a good or provide a service (i.e. a lemonade stand, car wash, pet-sitting service, etc.)
  2. Select a good or service and demonstrate the natural, human, and capital resources needed to provide that good or service.

Because people and regions cannot produce everything they want, they specialize in producing some goods and services and then trade for the rest. Countries specialize by producing the goods and services in which it has a comparative advantage, or does best, and then trades with others to get more of the things its people want. Worker specialize in jobs they do best and then use the income they earn to buy more of the things they want. Specialization and trade result in a far greater quantity of goods and services. Specialization allows people to produce more by concentrating on what they do best and trading their surplus goods or services to obtain other goods and services.  Society benefits as producers specialize in what others value.


The Goat in the Rug (Current Website lesson)

Essential question:

  1. Show what life would be like without specialization. How would your life differ if you had to produce everything you consume and could obtain nothing from anyone else?

Incentives are rewards or punishments that influence people’s decisions. When incentives change, people’s behavior changes in predicable ways. Incentives are shaped by a society’s rules (both formal and informal). Individuals make decisions based upon what they expect will maximize their own happiness, based upon their own self-interest objectives, given the constraints they face. Decisions are made in light of an unknown future, based on expected costs and expected benefits. Information, experience, and knowledge inform decision-making but do not eliminate uncertainty. People choose the alternatives that they perceive to offer the greatest excess of benefits over costs. Note: Poster entries must illustrate both concepts.


Incentives Influence Us!

Competition: Pizza!

Essential questions:

  1. Use a current event to show how incentives change people’s behavior.
  2. Demonstrate examples of consumer incentives.
  3. How do incentives influence people’s personal choices?
  4. How does advertising influence people’s economic decisions?
  5. What types of advertising exist to influence personal choice?
  6. Compare facts with advertising claims for a good or service.

People use their income by spending, saving and paying taxes. Note: Drawing must illustrate all three options.


The ABCs of Saving

Tic Tac Taxes

Essential questions:

  1. Explain reasons and ways to save and spend money. (SS.EC.FL.3.3)
  2. Demonstrate a personal spending choice, including how you plan to earn and save the money to achieve your choice. (include taxes)
  3. Why is it important to make responsible saving and spending choices?

Innovators create something new. Entrepreneurs take risks to turn great ideas into business opportunities. Innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers in our global economy. Note: Poster entries must illustrate both concepts.


Ben Franklin: Highlighting the Printer

US History: Inventors & Entrepreneurs

Essential questions:

  1. How do innovation and entrepreneurship impact our economy?
  2. What skills and characteristics do successful entrepreneurs and innovators possess?
  3. Describe innovators and entrepreneurs in US history.
  4. Compare the advantages/disadvantages of being an employee vs. an entrepreneur.

Free trade among nations gives people a broader range of choices of goods and services available to them. Trade between countries can be greatly influenced by policies and natural restrictions. Note: Drawing must illustrate both concepts.


The Trading Game

Essential questions:

  1. Describe some of the most common trade barriers.
  2. Show some of the most common reasons governments choose to impose trade barriers.
  3. Demonstrate one or more consequences of trade barriers.
  4. Identify who typically benefits most from and is hurt most by trade barriers.
  5. Illustrate a historical example of a US trade barrier, including the outcome.

Human Capital is a skill set a worker has acquired through education, training, or experience that can be used in production.


Could You Earn a Million Dollars?

Essential questions:

  1. Demonstrate a personal example of how you might invest in your own human capital or best prepare for your future employment.
  2. Demonstrate a historical example of changes in productivity resulting from improvements in human capital.
  3. Show how the market value of a worker’s skills and knowledge are determined.
  4. How does career choice impact consumer choice?
  5. Demonstrate the relationship of education, training and experience and income.
People save by putting funds away for use at a later date. They invest by purchasing assets or committing funds to a specific investment vehicle. Saving and investing choices involve deciding how much to save, how long to save, which investment vehicle to use, etc. Note: Poster entries must illustrate both concepts.


Setting Goals

Essential questions:

  1. All investing involves making choices. What are the costs and benefits to saving and investing?
  2. Why is it important to be an informed investor?
  3. What does it mean to “pay yourself first”?
  4. All investing involves some risk. Explain how investors use risk to make investment decisions.
  5. How does saving and investing build wealth?