Economics Lesson Plan for Students: Consumer Goods (Grades 2-5)


To better understand the principle of trade-offs and how to apply it to everyday life.

1. Understand what consumer goods are.
2. Use critical thinking skills to evaluate costs.
3. Apply graphs to everyday life.

What you’ll need

For this lesson, students will need cut-outs of illustrations of things consumers spend money on such as food, sports, and clothing and either glue or paste to paste the cut-outs. You will also need to provide them will blank graphs to graph their data for the activities. In order to distinguish between different pieces of data on the graph, different color pens or pencils can be used to do so.


Activity #1 – Assigning values

Each student will start off with a dollar amount of money assigned to them. This can range from $20-50. You will, then, need to assign money values to each of your cut-outs. Each value should range from around $1-50 and values should be spread out, preferably by multiples of 5. For more advanced grades, you can ask the students how much they think each represented cut-out would cost if they were to purchase it with the money they have.

Activity #2 – Choosing goods

Once students have their assigned amount of money and the value of the cut-outs, their consumer goods, marked, they can begin choosing their goods. Students will choose up to 5 cut-outs that represent goods that they, as consumers, will want to purchase with their money.

Activity #3 – Making the Graph

Students will make a graph of their consumer goods compared to the money they have. They will begin by pasting their cut-outs on the horizontal axis of their graph. Then, they will place values in increments of five on the graph; five being the number at the bottom of vertical and the dollar amount of money they have as the highest number on the graph.

Activity #4 – Analyzing their Values

For each cut-out, or consumer good, the students will draw a bar to the dollar amount it equals on the graph. An item that costs $5 will be graphed to the number five at the bottom of the graph, for example. Students can use different color pencils to draw different bars for each of their goods.


Students can see how the cost of each of their consumer goods relates to the amount of money they have. They will understand that each good takes a portion of their money out, in order to purchase it. They will also gain an understanding of what it means to budget by seeing how forgoing certain items can save them more money. This can be evaluated by asking your students the following questions:
1. What is a consumer good?
2. What is the most expensive consumer good on my chart?
3. What is the least expensive consumer good on my chart?

4. If I purchase all of the goods, how much money will I have left?
5. What can I take out that will leave me with the most amount of money?

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