Yesterday, the 3rd graders took their first field trip of the year! To build real-world connections to our economics unit, we visited Lucy's Bakery. The students took with them a pre-writing planning sheet to keep track of the economic ideas they will eventually write about in their non-fiction report about the bakery. As we moved through the bakery and listened to our tour guide, the students took notes about productive resources (mixers, walk-in ovens, bakers, flour), goods (bread, cookies, pastries), consumers (people who keep kosher, local restaurants, the JCC) and more. I was so impressed with their focus during the tour. They all took very valuable notes!
After the tour, the students got a chance to make their own bread in the "forming area." The head baker taught them a few tricks, and they even got to add chocolate chips! During the question and answer portion, we learned lots of interesting information. For example, when the bakery first opened, they weren't sure how much food to make, so they ended up wasting a lot! Over time, the bakers noticed patterns pertaining to which days were busier than others, and which holidays draw more customers in. This kind of information will be especially useful later in the year when the students are designing their own small business!
The staff at Lucy's was extremely generous, sending us home with lots of bread and cookies to spare! When we returned to the classroom, the smells and sights of our field trip lingered. So we turned our memories into Haikus! Here are some examples:
Lucy's Bakery -
bread, cookies, pastries, and more!
Smells so good and nice.
I smell the sweet breads.
They are tickling my cute nose.
That's why I love it.
What a lovely way to welcome winter break!
Today we looked at a familiar story in a new way. Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree is a classic story, a favorite of many, and can be looked at through multiple lenses. Perhaps when you first read it you thought of the generosity of the tree and the youthful selfishness of the boy. Maybe the story made you think of the way close relationships change over time. Odds are you never read the book and contemplated the economic elements of the story, but that's exactly what we did today!
Before listening to the story, the students were given an index card and told to divide it into 3 sections, labeled "G," "S," and "R." Immediately, a few students exclaimed, "goods, services, and resources!" Apparently I'm becoming predictable. As they listened, the students made lists in each category as they heard the elements in the story. The boy sold apples, so apples are a good. The tree was the resource that provided them. The tree provided the service of shade to the boy. The leaves and branches were the resources that made the shade!
After reading and discussing these elements, the 3rd graders were given another student's thinking to evaluate. This reminded them of today's learning target, which is "I can evaluate a scarcity situation and defend my opinion." They knew that this next activity would be what today's lesson was all about.
The basic question was this: is the tree in the story a scarce resource? Why or why not? They were told that a student named Yakov says that no, the tree is not a scarce resource. They were asked to pick a side -- either you agree with Yakov or you don't. Then we had a friendly debate. The students learned that a debate is not an argument, it is an exchange of ideas and responses. We used a sentence template to frame our responses to keep the debate focused.
I was surprised at how well they stuck to the format, and how they really listened to the other side and adjusted their response accordingly. We even had a few students change their minds after hearing the other side's arguments.
After a very compelling back-and-forth, we were ready to make our closing arguments. Each side worked together to formulate a final statement that contains their strongest defense.
Apparently I didn't take a picture of the "scarce" side's final argument, but essentially they said the tree was scarce because the boy kept wanting more and more and more.
I have to say, I started out firmly on one side of this debate, and ended up not so sure. What do you think?
Little people, big minds.