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Farming and Economics Problem Based Learning Unit

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Keywords: Economics
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Special Needs, Writing, Reading, Earth Science, Information Skills, Business, Social Studies, Journalism, Civics
Grades 3 through 5
School: Farmer Elementary School, Asheboro, NC
Planned By: Laura Johnston
Original Author: Laura Johnston, Asheboro
Lesson 1 (LA 2.02) : Students will complete the first section of the Economics RAN, "What I Think I Know", pertaining to economics to access prior knowledge and identify possible misconceptions.

Lesson 2 (SS 4.04; LA 1.06) : Needs and Wants: As a class, discuss and define needs and wants. Students will add definitions and examples to their social studies Words to Know section. Teacher will add to the SmartBoard Word Wall. Students will individually complete Needs and Wants: What's Important and discuss their lists as a class.

Lesson 3 (SS 5.05) : Introduce economic resources using the UDL bookbuilder e-book (http://bookbuilder.cast.org/view.php?op=view&book=31683&;page=1). Students will read about capital, natural, and human resources with the option of the computer reading the text. Their comprehension will be monitored with the use of response questions, and a coach is provided to access helpful hints. Once all students have read the text, they will be asked to complete the Kidspiration Resource Sort as a formative assessment of comprehension. Students not meeting satisfactory expectations will be pulled for small group remediation with the teacher. Rereading of the text and completion of the Economic Resource Reinforcement activity will be used. All students will add new vocabulary terms to their Words to Know section.

Lesson 4 (SS 4.04, 5.02, 5.05; LA 2.02; T 3.04; LA 1.06, 2.04): Teacher reads "A New Coat for Anna" to the class. Class discusses Anna's needs. Teacher asks students:
How did Anna solve her problem?
What resources were needed for her coat?
How does Anna's mother get the resources she needs to make the coat?
Discuss the sequence of events with students.
After discussing the book, the class will participate in the "A New Coat for Anna" interactive SmartBoard activity (http://www.exchange.smarttech.com/search.html?q=a+new+coat+for+anna)that reinforces concepts and vocabulary pertaining to resources, trade, and sequencing.

Lesson 5 (SS 4.04, 5.02, 5.05; T 3.04) : Watch the Hershey Factory Video as a class. Pass out the Resources Chart. Watch the video a second time. While students are watching, have them record examples of the different types of resources (natural, human, capital) found in the video. As a class create a compilation of ideas. In cooperative groups students will watch the Pineapple Production Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sx_9K7-vXrE). The second viewing they should complete the Resources Chart as modeled for the class. Struggling students will be guided again on identifying types of resources with the Orange Juice Video (http://www.yourdiscovery.com/video/how-do-they-do-it-how-is-orange-juice-made/).

Lesson 6 (LA 2.02) : Students receive the memo from the FFA regarding assistance for farmers accessing stimulus funds. As a class use the modified KWL, FFA Stimulus Organizer, to analyze the information they received. Discuss questions they have from the memo and how they can go about finding the answers to their questions.

Lesson 7 (SS 4.01 4.04, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 5.04, 5.05, 5.06; LA 2.02) : Students are shown the North Carolina Land Use and Resource map. In cooperative groups, students select the farm/product they are going to assist. They will begin by adding any additional information to the FFA Stimulus Organizer. Groups will delegate roles within the group and create a plan for completing the task. Cooperative groups will meet once a week with the teacher to assess progress. The teacher will also be available if struggles arise. All groups will have uninterrupted daily time to work on the Stimulus Plan.

Lesson 8 (SS 5.03, 5.04; T 3.04): Division of Labor: Watch the Assembly Line: Now and Then Video (http://www.history.com/videos/history-of-the-holidays-the-story-of-labor-day#history-of-the-holidays-the-story-of-labor-day). Discuss division of labor and what an assembly line is, and add to Words to Know section. Students will participate in an assembly line themselves. Half of the class will independently create five paper boxes, while the other half will use an assembly line to complete five boxes. Students will assess the success of both methods as well as the efficiency at the end of the activity. Ask students to think: Are there times it is better to use independent work versus an assembly line? What about the reverse? Groups will continue work on Stimulus Plan.

Lesson 9 (SS 5.02; M 4.01): Supply and Demand: As a whole group take inventory of class supplies. Ask who needs a pencil? Glue Stick? Scissors? Eraser? etc. Using a data chart, collect the class's data. As a class analyze the results. Which items where high in demand? (Had the most need.) Which items had low demand? (Had the least need.) Generate a list of who could supply these items. In cooperative groups students will create a data chart pertaining to their wants and needs from Lesson 2. Next, they will rank the items from greatest demand to the least demand. Groups will continue work on Stimulus Plan.

Lesson 10 (SS 5.01, 5.02) : Chain Reaction:
Changes to the supply of different items are often created by a chain reaction. For example, a late frost can damage fruit crops decreasing the amount available for supermarkets. Because there is a low supply of fruit, the price increases. The chain reaction starts with a late frost and ends with higher fruit prices. Chain reactions can also have the opposite effect with something causing an excess supply which causes prices to decrease. Provide students with a few examples of chain reactions that can influence supply and demand. Divide students into small groups and have each group think of their own chain reaction situation that could influence supply and demand. If students have difficulty getting started, assign each group a specific product. Students think about where the product comes from and what events could affect the supply (as found on http://www.ehow.com/list_6162496_school-activities-demonstrate-supply-demand.html).
The teacher will model the interactive Lemonade Stand activity (http://www.primarygames.com/socstudies/lemonade/start.htm) for the class, making sure to explicitly make connections between the actual amount of supplies, the cost of the supplies, and the number of customers. Students will also have to understand the effects of weather on their business. Students or cooperative groups (based on learning needs) will run their own lemonade stand. To make it more competitive, a class profit chart could be created after the 30 days of the Lemonade Stand have ended.
Groups will continue work on Stimulus Plan.
To assess understanding, students will be given supply and demand cause and effect situations to solve.

Lesson 11 (SS 5.01, 5.02) : Scarcity Kicker: Present students with the NC Draught Article to introduce scarcity. Read and discuss as a class. Groups will continue work on Stimulus Plan. In addition they will create a media presentation regarding the effects of scarcity on their product and how they will adapt.

Lesson 12 (SS 4.01 4.04, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 5.04, 5.05, 5.06; LA 2.02, 4.02, 4.03) : Students will present and defend their Stimulus Plan to the class as their summative assessment. Students will also complete a written response (FFA Stimulus Group Organizer: "What We Learned" section) and peer/self evaluation reflecting on the process of creating the Stimulus Plan. As a class complete the remaining sections of the Economics RAN and debrief about the economic principles.

Unit created with Shelia Kowalski, 3rd grade teacher
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This unit will not only target social studies, it will also encompass science, writing, research, reading comprehension, and technology. In addition, it will focus heavily on cooperative learning skills and time management.
Create a budget for your product's production and distribution.
Links: E-book
"A New Coat for Anna" SmartBoard Activity
Pineapple Production Video
Assembly Line: Then and Now
Lemonade Stand Activity
Materials: Whiteboards, Video Cameras, Projectors, Projector Screens, Video Tools, Tripods, Batteries, Literacy, Word Processor, Inspiration, Web Page, Internet Services, Integrating Technology