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Math Lesson Essay

1707 words - 7 pages

Lesson Plan Title:
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday: Understanding Opportunity Costs

Grade Level:2, 3, or 6th

Duration: three 50-minute class periods

Student Goal:
To understand that there is an opportunity cost to every economic decision and that these costs come as a result of limited resources.

Student Objectives
Students will:

Identify "opportunity costs" in the story and in their own lives.

Create an opportunity costs bar graph as a whole class.

Complete a table of personal spending and savings information.

Write an original story about how they spent and saved their allowance and what they gave up or their "opportunity costs" in order to reach their goals.


a copy of Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, by Judith Viorst

chart paper


overhead projector


student handout: How I Spent & Saved My Allowance (included). This was provided by the teacher in which I was doing my participant observations with.

Set Up and Prepare:

Use the book Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, by Judith Viorst.

Write the definition of the term "opportunity cost" on a sheet of chart paper and display for the class:

Opportunity Cost: what you give up when you decide to do or buy something

Draw a bar graph on a transparency. Write the title "Opportunity Costs for a College Education" across the top. Label the horizontal axis "Opportunity Costs." Label the vertical axis "Number of Students."

Print out copies of the student handout "How I Spent & Saved My Money" for each student to take home.

Directions: PART I:

Step 1:
Share with students a story about a time when you did not buy something you really wanted so that you could use or save the money for something more important. For example, maybe you didn't go on a vacation so you could save the money for a car you need to buy. Explain that what you gave up is called an "opportunity cost." Direct students' attention to the definition of "opportunity cost" displayed on the chart paper.

Step 2:
Ask students to share stories from their own lives in which they gave up something to get something else, or to save for something else that they want more. Have them identify their opportunity costs. Ask students why they think it is hard to save money. Encourage students to share ideas about how to save money. Jot their ideas on chart paper.

Step 3:
Show students the cover of of Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday. Read the title and author's name aloud. Tell students that this is a story about a little boy named Alexander who receives $1.00 from his grandparents. Instead of saving his money for something he really wants, he ends up spending it on silly things. Explain that Alexander is the youngest of three, and unlike his older brothers, he doesn't understand about saving his money. Ask...

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