Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes, by Jane O’Connor is a great book to use to introduce the economics of cupcakes. Not only are you able to discuss the productive resources necessary to make cupcakes (natural, human, capital) but the story also involves a school bake sale to raise money for the library. Below I have provided a think-aloud/read-aloud of the economics concepts in the book.
Before Reading: Discuss the ingredients necessary to make cupcakes. What goods would you need to buy in order to make cupcakes? When goods like a bag of flour or sugar are used to make cupcakes, these are known as intermediate goods. Discuss the concept of a bake sale. Have you been to a bake sale? Who provides the goods to sell–the baked goods? Who provides the services–the selling and packaging? How does a bake sale produce money for the school library? Do the workers or producers get paid for their services?
During Reading: During reading, there are spaces in the book that are perfect opportunities for discussing these concepts.
Cover: Fancy Nancy is making cupcakes. What goods do you need to buy at the supermarket to make cupcakes? Look at the picture. What are some of the resources she is using?
P. 6: There is a bake sale at school the next day. The bake sale is to raise money for library books. How does that work? How does the school make money from the bake sale? (People donate goods and services)
P. 12: At the market, what are the goods Nancy’s mom buys? These goods will be used to make other goods–cupcakes–so they are called intermediate goods. What are the natural resources that were used to create these goods? (sugar cane, wheat, etc.)
P. 13-15: Capital resources are the tools used to make the cupcakes. What tools are used? Human resources are the people who help make the cupcakes. Who are the human resources and what jobs are they doing?
P. 19: Nancy is making a deal with a friend to exchange two brownies for two cupcakes. Does that make money for the school library? How does that exchange benefit both Nancy and her friend? Nancy will exchange some cupcakes for other goods. She will also sell cupcakes in exchange for currency-money.
P. 25: After Nancy’s disaster where the dog eats the cupcakes, her father also brought home some “stuff” or resources to make cupcakes. What goods did he have in his bag? Were these the same goods mom bought? Anything different? Do you remember what you call goods that are used to make another product? That’s right! Intermediate goods. They are in the middle of being goods themselves (flour, sugar, etc.) and being made into another product (a cupcake).
P. 27: Check out the baking. What jobs were people doing on pages 25-27 in order to make cupcakes? What equipment (capital resources) or tools did they use? Was there anything different from the tools on pages 13-15?
P. 29-30: Finally! The bake sale. Who are the buyers? Who are the sellers? What are all of the goods for sale? How do you think people paid for the baked goods? Where do you think they stored the money?
After Reading: After you finish reading, review the economics concepts/ vocabulary words that you discussed in the read/aloud think/aloud questions and comments.