Introduction to Economics Lesson Plan: Scarcity

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Scarcity Defined

Chances are your students have experience with scarcity and don’t even know it! Help them apply their own world to their economics lesson plan by employing the methods of this one.

What You’ll Need

To do this lesson plan you will need:

  • a package of styrofoam cups
  • an empty one gallon jug
  • a gallon of cold water
  • enough sweetened kool-aid packs to make 1/2 gallon of kool-aid.

In Practice

If you have an extremely small class you may need to make adjustments to these measurements at your discretion.

  1. Divide the students into 2 groups.
  2. Ask one group of students to arrange the cups so that everyone has one.
  3. Ask the other group of students to make enough kool-aid so that everyone gets a cup. Do not specify whether or not the cups should be full. Make sure that students read the directions carefully.
  4. Instruct students that one group is not allowed to communicate with the other.
  5. Students will soon realize that 1/2 gallon of kool-aid is not going to be enough for everyone to get a full glass of kool-aid.
  6. When students come to you with this problem, instruct them that they must now figure out a solution without addressing the other members of the class. There are two options. Either students each get a very small cup of kool-aid or a full gallon is made but is watered down so that each student gets a full cup.
  7. When students decide on a solution and pass it out, the other students may complain or be shocked by what they were given. Explain to students that an issue of scarcity or a lack of resources has just been dealt with. Further explain that this is similar to the way that heads of household and government sometimes deal with scarcity.

Classroom Discussion

Discuss scarcity experiment with your students, then ask them the following questions.

  • Would the problem of scarcity have been solved if there were more funds available?
  • What are some similar situations that students can think of that are happening right now in their society?
  • How is scarcity dealt with in the students' homes?
  • What are some scarcity issues happening worldwide and how are they being solved?

After doing this activity and discussing some possible scarcity scenarios, students should have a firm grasp on the concept of scarcity and how it is handled in their individual lives and society in general.

This post is part of the series: Lessons Plans Economics Introduction

This series is aimed at introducing students to economics using hands on lesson plans and activities to ciltivate interest and understanding about the basic concept of economics.

  1. Economic Way of Thinking
  2. What is Scarcity? Economics Lesson Plan
  3. Lesson Plan: Using the Economic Model
  4. Resources in Economics: Lesson Plan
  5. The Foundation of Economics: Review Lesson & Quiz