Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Needs of the Family

Renee Benefield


Students gain an understanding and appreciation of needs that have to be met in order for a family to survive and flourish. They see that many things are just for their enjoyment.


The student knows ways families meet their basic needs.


-Large chart paper or chalkboard (The chart paper is easy to relocate to a bulletin board or science center.)
-Pencils, crayons, markers for student use
-Magazines for cutting out pictures
-Large construction paper for student activity
-Glue and scissors for student use


1. Prepare large chart paper or chalkboard.
2. Gather pencils, crayons, markers, magazines, large construction paper, glue and scissors for student activity.


1. Begin the lesson by asking the children if they had to go on a trip and had to leave all of their things except one, what is the one thing they would take with them?

2. Explain to the students that there are certain things that every person needs to survive. Explain that families must find ways for these needs to be met.

3. Ask the students to verbalize some of the basic needs that all people have. Write these down as they list them.

4. Lead the students in a discussion about the basic needs that are not bought, such as water, air or food if you were to have to hunt for it on your own. Explain that most things that are necessary to survive have to be purchased. Ask the students what people need to have to purchase these items.

5. Explain to the students that people work to have money to meet their basic needs and to provide other things that they can enjoy. Have the students brainstorm about other reasons people would work.

6. Explain to the students that things that are necessary to survive are called “needs.” All living things have 3 basic needs: food, clothing and shelter. Things that are for fun or pleasure are called “wants.” Explain that we do not always get what we would like and we have to learn to wait for things. Have the students discuss the idea of saving money to get things that are not necessary. Discuss with the students the fact that we may want a lot of different kinds of things like clothes and shoes, but that it is not necessary to have a big variety.

7. Review with the students that we must have money to buy things that we need. We earn money by working and making sure that we have enough money to cover the things that are necessary for us to live. Stress the importance of responsibility with money.

8. Give the following directions for the independent activity. The students fold their paper into 2 sections. One side is labeled “needs” and the other “wants.” They cut pictures out of magazines and glue them in the appropriate category. The poster should include a picture of food, clothing and shelter.

9. Pass out materials and allow for independent work time.

10. Take up the posters and check for correct classification of needs and wants.


After a lesson on how families meet their basic needs, students are formatively assessed on their understanding of the differences between needs and wants by creating a poster. The poster should reflect the three basic needs (food, clothing and shelter) and some items that would be included as wants.
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