Do I Want It Or Need It?

Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Subject Area

Social Studies




In this lesson, students will listen as the teacher reads Something Good by Robert Munsch. In the story, the characters make choices about the foods they should purchase at the grocery store and learn a lesson about needs and wants. As a whole class, students classify needs and wants from the story.  Then students will use local grocery store sales papers and create their own grocery list with needs and wants.

Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 1


Describe the role of money in everyday life.



  • money
  • needs
  • wants
  • saving
  • borrowing
  • buyers
  • sellers
  • specialized jobs
  • goods
  • services
  • barter
  • trade
  • spend
  • save


Students know:
  • How money plays a role in everyday life.
  • The difference between goods and services (for example, goods- food, toys, clothing; services - medical care, fire protection, law enforcement, library resources).
  • How money is the primary way to make purchases.
  • How money is earned through working (for example, job, chores, etc.).
  • The difference between purchases of needs and wants within their family.
  • How people save and borrow money.
  • How to differentiate between a buyer and seller.
  • Vocabulary: money, needs, wants, saving, borrowing, buyers, sellers, specialized jobs, goods, services, barter, trade, spend, save


Students are able to:
  • Recognize the primary role of money in everyday life.
  • Identify and describe needs and wants.
  • Describe saving and borrowing.
  • Describe buyers and sellers.
  • Describe the role specialized jobs play in the production of goods and services.
  • Identify and use appropriate vocabulary associated with the function of money (for example, barter, trade, spend, save).


Students understand that:
  • Money plays a role in everyday life.
  • Families make purchases of needs and wants. Students understand the concept of saving and borrowing.
  • There is a difference between buyers and sellers.
  • We can classify the specialized jobs of workers with regard to production of goods and services.
  • There is an appropriate vocabulary to use to describe the function of money.

Primary Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify needs and wants.



Ask students to think about a time when they have gone to the grocery store with their mom or dad.  Did their parent have a grocery list?  Why do you think they made a list? Ask - Do you ever ask your parents to buy things that aren't on the list?  What kinds of things are usually not on the list?  Why do you think those things aren't on the list?  Explain to the students that you will be reading a book today about another family who went grocery shopping and had to make choices about the items to buy.  They had to decide between needs and wants. 

Explain to students that a want is something that you would like to have, but you can live without it.

A need is something you have to have to live.

Give examples such as:  need - food, want - video game.

Draw a t-chart on the dry erase board or a piece of chart paper and label one side need and one side want.  Tell the students to listen for needs and wants as you read the story and after the story, you will list them in the t-chart.  Read the story Something Good by Robert Munsch or find a read-aloud online if a print copy is unavailable.

 During the story, pause periodically and ask the following questions:

  • What are some things Tyya's dad bought at the supermarket?
  • Did Tyya like the foods her dad bought? Why or Why not?
  • Were the foods Tyya's dad bought needs or wants?
  • What was so funny about the foods Tyya wanted?
  • What was the name of the food Tyya picked out?
  • Were the foods Tyya wanted to buy needs or wants?

After reading the story, add the needs and wants from the story to the t-chart you drew on the board. To check for understanding, group students into groups with 3 or 4 students per group and pass out the Needs vs. Wants Worksheets.  For these worksheets, students will brainstorm with their group for 2 minutes to list needs and wants of the person or animal pictured on their sheet.  Then groups will swap sheets with another group until groups have seen all the sheets.


Pass out the local grocery store sales papers (one per student) and tell students to create their own grocery list of wants and needs.  Students need to make sure they label each grocery item on their list as either need or want. 

Remind them:

Want- something that you would like to have, but you can live without it

Need- You have to have it to live

Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed on the grocery list they create and label as need and want.


Students can cut pictures from magazines or draw their own and create a collage of needs and wants.


Students who are struggling may work with a peer.  They may also be allowed to cut and paste the pictures from the grocery paper and sort want or need.


Total Duration

31 to 60 Minutes


Students will need to know the following vocabulary:

  • choice
  • cost
  • decision making
  • needs
  • goods
  • wants

Materials and Resources

  • Book: Something Good by Robert Munsch
  • Chart Paper or dry erase board
  • local grocery store sales papers (one per student)
  • Needs vs Wants Worksheet (one per group)

Approved Date