Teaching Economics Using Lunch Money by Andrew Clements


Grades 3-6

Lesson Links
Banking & Interest (pages 10-15)
Big Banks, Piggy Banks

When choosing a place to put their money, people consider how safe their money will be, how easy it is to access and whether it will earn more money. Students explore how well different savings places achieve these objectives.



  • To recognize the importance of student learning economics and financial literacy
  • To understand economic concepts as embodied in the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs)
  • To learn how to integrate the teaching of economics using literature
  • To identify resources available to assist with the instruction of economic concepts
Mass Production (Chapter 4 with illustrations on pages 30-32 )Widget ProductionStudents search the web for examples of the many ways in which productivity has been increased over the years.


Competition (Chapter 6)
Hey Pop!One of the best sounds and smells is fresh popcorn! At the movies, at the circus, or at home, everyone likes to munch on popcorn. What is your favorite brand? Is the most expensive the best?http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.cfm?lesson=EM453&page=teacher

Book Synopsis

Greg Kenton, entrepreneur extraordinaire, and Marsha Shaw, his lifelong rival, team up to create a successful comic book business. When the principal bans their product from being sold at school, they end up presenting their case to the local school board.

Opportunity Cost (Chapter 15)
You Decide!Think about a difficult decision you have had to make. Did it work out? Why or why not? Why do you think decisions and choices are hard to make? We make personal decisions and we make decisions as groups. There is a tool you can use to improve you decision making that will help you reach a better outcome.http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.cfm?lesson=EM396&page=teacher
Productive Resources (Human [Greg and Maura], Capital [copier and stapler]. Natural [maybe the trees used to make the paper which is actually an Intermediate Good]) The Productive Blues (Jeans) Upon completion of this lesson the students will: identify examples of productive resources; categorize productive resources as human resources, capital resources and natural resources; explain that an entrepreneur is a special type of human resource; identify examples of intermediate goods.


Virginia Standards of Learning

2.7 The student will describe the differenced between natural resources (water, soil, wood, and coal), human resourced (people at work) and capital resources (machines, tools and building).

2.9 The student will explain that scarcity (limited resources) required people to make choices about producing and consuming goods and services.

3.7 The student will explain how producers use natural resources, human resources and capital resources to produce goods and services for consumers.

3.8 The student will recognize the concepts of specialization (being an expert in one job, product, or service) and interdependence (depending on other) in the production of good and services.

3.9 The student will identify examples of making an economic choice and will explain the idea of opportunity cost (want is given up when making a choice.)

Recertification Points

Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Teachers

If you wish to teach a lesson based on Lunch Money and earn recertification points please contact:

Lynne Stover




Note: The JMU has a set of 30 copies of Lunch Money that may be borrowed of classroom use.