Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: K-3

In this Needs and Wants lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-3, students use BrainPOP Jr. resources to identify the things that humans need in order to survive. Students will explore the difference between a need and a want, analyze examples of goods and services, and distinguish between producers and consumers. Students then create a poster that relates these concepts to their real lives.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. List the things that humans need in order to survive
  2. Identify the difference between a need and a want
  3. Analyze examples of goods and services, define and identify producers and consumers, and create a poster that relates these concepts to students' real lives


  • Computer & projector to view the BrainPOP Jr. Needs and Wants movie and features
  • Blank paper for drawing
  • Markers or crayons, & pencils
  • Printed copies of the quiz (optional)


needs; wants; goods; producer; consumer


Preview the movie and read through Ideas for Grownups for some background information. You may also plan to show and discuss the Goods and Services movie in a prior lesson to give children additional background information about producers and consumers.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Provide students with blank paper and ask them to draw a picture of themselves in their home environment that shows how their family meets each of the needs for human survival (sink or bottle for water, their closet for clothes, etc.). Students should label and circle or highlight each need. You might also ask students to identify and label the goods they draw. In addition, advanced students may want to draw or list ways they are consumers and ways they are producers. This activity may be completed online using the using the Draw About It feature: have students print their drawings and use pencil or pen to add labels.
  2. Bring the group back to a whole class discussion, and ask whether students see consumers in any of the pictures. As children mention the first picture (in which Moby purchased groceries), talk about how he is choosing not to stop his bike and purchase sports and musical equipment in the stores. Is that a smart decision? What could Moby do if he wanted to get more money to buy other goods? Discuss ways Moby could be a producer to balance out the times that he is a consumer.
  3. Repeat this procedure for each of the four pictures in the game.
  4. Afterward, click on the Game feature, which shows four pictures that each contain three things we need in order to live. Click on one picture at a time. Give students a moment to examine the picture and either think about or partner share which items pictured are truly needs.
  5. Make a t-chart on the board and label one side 'Needs' and the other 'Wants'. Ask volunteers to name human needs and write down their answers on the left side of the chart. Guide children to understand that people need air, food, water, shelter, and clothes to live. Then ask students to name some things they want to have, but don't need in order to survive, and record their answers on the right side of the chart. As children mention expensive items they want, guide them to understand that families must carefully budget their money to cover needs and pay for wants using only the leftover money.
  6. Finish discussing the other words on the word wall page (goods, producer, and consumer), flipping over each card as children share their ideas.
  7. Show students the BrainPOP Jr. word wall for the Needs and Wants movie. Ask students to tell what a need is, and click the word wall card to reveal its definition. Then ask students to define a want. Show its definition and discuss the differences between needs and wants.
  8. You may choose to distribute printed copies of the easy quiz or hard quiz for students (or have them complete the quiz online) and use their responses to further assess individual understandings. Students may staple their quiz results to the back of their posters and the two assessments can be combined to produce one final grade.

Extension Activities:

Discuss the needs and wants of your community and record the results by typing students' ideas into the Needs and Wants Teacher Activities page.