Well, folks, our loooong humanities unit about civics and government has come to an end. Though I will miss our passionate discussions about rights and freedoms, and the children's general enthusiasm about the subject, I am excited to move on to our next conceptual unit: Economics. As a reminder, the idea behind these units is that when language arts skills are taught through a conceptual lens, the learning is more meaningful. Furthermore, when the concept chosen comes from the social studies standards, the students are able to use reading and writing as a tool to understand the world around them. When language arts and social studies are integrated, we call that humanities. All of our major units this year will be humanities units.
OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way, you may be wondering how the topic of economics will be anywhere near as interesting as the topic of civil rights and government. The long explanation has to do with creating a classroom mini-economy, starting our own small-businesses to earn extra money, designing our own currency, and shopping at a weekly classroom market. The short answer can be summed up in one word: play-dough.
Ah, play-dough. What can't it do? Last week, the students used play-dough to create a good or a service of their choice. This was a fun and concrete way for them to demonstrate their mastery of that day's learning target, which was "I can distinguish between a good and a service." Throughout this unit, concepts like productive resources, producers and consumers, and supply and demand will be made accessible to the 3rd graders with activities like these, along with many real-life experiences that they will gain in the coming months.
Little people, big minds.