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The Business Roundtable is Alive and Well in Maryland First Grade Classrooms

Publication Date: 2004-06-18

Here's some basic economics for first graders in Maryland.

Maryland Social Studies Grade 1 Voluntary Curriculum
Draft Date 8/28/03


Students will identify the economic principles and processes that are helpful to producers and consumers when making good decisions.

Indicator Statement:
Describe the production process
Give examples of natural and human resources used in production such as, making butter, making ice cream, building houses

Describe the skills people need in the work they do in the home, school, and community

Indicator Statement:
Identify and classify goods and services
Distinguish between a good and a service

Identify goods and services as products people want

Indicator Statement:
Identify how goods and services are acquired
Describe how people earn money by working at a job, by making or growing things, or by doing things to help other people

Explain how getting something one wants may mean giving up something in return

Identify markets in the local community, such as grocery store, farmer's market and fast food restaurants

Indicator Statement:
Explain how technology affects the way people live, work and play
Explain how changes in tools and products have affected the way people live, work or play

The result of this is a worksheet called Goods and Services.

Directions: Look at the pictures. If the worker provides a good, write a G on the line. The the worker provides a service, write an S on the line.

We see a smiling young man holding a tray labeled "Snacks." I agree with the first grader, who labels this "Service." This answer is judged wrong.

Funny thing: People who sell food are employed in the service industry. I assumed that the smiling young man did not make the snacks. The next smiling young man is holding a plate with a fish (including the head) on top. HE has a chef's hat on. So mark this one G. He's providing a good.

A smiling female has a label on her shirt: SALES. She is holding a shoe aloft. Again, the first grader and I marked this S. This answer is wrong. Hmm. Another service industry worker. Everybody knows shoes aren't made in the U. S. any more. These goods come from China.

People providing a service on this worksheet include a bus driver, fire fighter, a doctor, and a plumber. People providing goods are someone painting a toy train, someone who has caught a fish, the person selling snacks, a chef, and the shoe sales person.

Given what the answer sheet says is the right answer for a shoe sales person and a snack sales person, how's a child to know that the plumber isn't selling the wrench in his hand and thereby providing a good?

On another worksheet, the first grader identifies: Capital Resources I Use at School.

The child is invited to create a special sundae by filling in the blanks.

The special topping for my sundae is ____________.

I chose this topping because ________________.

I had to give up my second choice_____ when I chose_________.

What I gave up is called__________.

For this last fill-in, my husband answered "Whipped cream." That is wrong. A first grader had to write opportunity cost.

If, like me, you've never heard of an opportunity cost, ask a Maryland first grader. Or an MBA.

Another worksheet announces: We meet our Economic Wants by consuming Goods and Services. The child must distingishes between goods and services.

Here are a few definitions:

A telephone: This good meets my want for communicating with other people.

Funny thing: I thought a telephone represented a service for mass communication. AT & T says it's a proud service provider for the Olympics. When you contact your phone company, it's about phone service. I guess the answer depends on whether you see the phone as something you buy or something you use.

Cleaning Service: This service meets my want for a clean and orderly house.

Now what would be the income level required for a child to recognize this service?

The Business Roundtable rules. Just think about the days when kids were reading Dr. Seuss in first grade..

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