For this lesson, I used Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle as a sample book.
I recommend you read the book aloud first to set a context for learning. Then, use the following questions/comments to develop a discussion about economic concepts–Econ-cepts. Visit the EconEdLink Glossary for definitions of the Econ-cepts.
Cover: If you wanted to eat a pancake at home, what would you you need (see wants)? (Before Reading)
Page 1-2: If you wanted pancakes for breakfast, are your choices? (use decision tree/chart–see the last post How Do You Hug a Porcupine for a sample Decision Tree.
Pages 3-4: What was Jack’s decision? What resources (tools, goods) does his mother need for pancakes? She needs flour-it is a scarce resource. I wonder how Jack will decide to get flour. What would you do?
Page 5-6: What does Jack decide to do? If Jack has two choices–get flour or don’t get flour–what is his opportunity cost if he decides to get the flour? What is his opportunity cost if he decides not to get the flour? Remember opportunity cost is the next best alternative you give up when you make a choice between alternatives.
Page 5-10: Watch for the productive resources (human, capital, natural) used for flour. What are the tools, jobs, goods, and services?
Page 12: What a lot of work! What is Jack’s incentive to keep going? He wants pancakes!
Pages 12-16: Let’s look at the division of labor. Who does what job with what tool? OR What are the human, capital, and natural resources?
Pages 17-18: Jack’s mom mentions a topping for pancakes. What decisions do you have to put on your pancakes? Let’s think of three items—maple syrup, butter, and jam. If I can’t decide between maple syrup and jam, but then choose the jam, then maple syrup is my next best choice. The next best choice is my opportunity cost of choosing the other alternative.
Page 19-28 On the next few pages, lets see what productive, human, and capital resources are needed to make pancakes? Note: for younger children you may want to ask what are the goods, services, jobs, and tools. Record these as students list them. Or they can record these and create a digital book with images and text. See the Technology Tips section of this website for more information on how to create digital responses.
For more ideas on using Pancakes Pancakes to teach Economics, view:
Lesson ideas focusing on productive resources: Kids Econ Posters
Lesson developed by the Maryland Council on Economic Education