Elementary School Lesson Plans

On this page you will find five lesson plans designed for elementary school learning. Students will learn enough about economics and ecology to consider the concepts of growth, constraint, and interdependence between social and ecological systems. They will also trace energy and matter through economic supply chains. These concepts pave way for an understanding of how to determine the right size of the economy and how our governing and economic institutions can operate accordingly. Throughout 2019 we will be developing corresponding activities and presentations which make this curriculum accessible for these ages.

Transformation and Balance
Grades 3-5 Lesson 1
(Word document for editing)

12,000 years ago, about 3 million humans inhabited the earth. If you lived during this period, it is likely that your community consisted of about 30 people. Your house would be a small shelter built from grass, stone, and animal hide. Over time, humans learned to transform the environment as well as their own ways of living in community. Since then, we have seen a rapid period of expansion and technological progress.

Economic Cycles and Nature
Grades 3-5 Lesson 2
(Word document for editing)

The basic model of the economy is frequently illustrated as a circular flow between businesses and households. How does nature interact with this circle of exchanges?

The Economic Food Chain
Grades 3-5 Lesson 3
(Word document for editing)

Nature is organized by trophic levels. We tend to think of these levels like a ‘food chain’. Plants use solar energy, some animals eat plants, and some animals eat animals. Economic activity follows a similar pattern. We have raw materials, heavy manufacturing, and light manufacturing. The economy depends on a solid foundation and a healthy ecosystem.

Energy and the Economy
Grades 3-5 Lesson 4
(Word document for editing)

How much energy does it take to kick a soccer ball? A lot more than you would think! Our future leaders will be designing institutions and business models which operate efficiently within social and ecological constraints.

Grades 3-5 Lesson 5
Biodiversity and Economic Growth
(Word document for editing)

The world’s ecosystems fit together like puzzle pieces. They are all interdependent. If humans want to protect nature and create the foundation for a sustainable economy, they’ll need to consider biodiversity alongside agriculture and urbanization.