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Economics

Teaching resources & approaches

Needs and Wants - an engaging activity that asks 'what do we want'?

Jonny Clark

28th August 2019

Here's a short activity called 'Needs and Wants' that could help stimulate discussion when considering the topic of needs and wants with new Economic students.

'Needs and wants' is a key concept for understanding why we study (and teach!) economics. This activity can stimulate discussion about how some 'wants' may be relatively popular and others are more specific to individuals and economists will argue that allocating resources should be different for each item.

16 items are shown on screen. Some of these register in the top 10 'most wanted' items for women, some belong to the same list for men and some belong to both lists (all lists taken from a recent magazine survey in the UK). Can your students work out which item belongs to which category? Why is there a difference between women and men in this case? If students were to compile similar lists for, say, people under the age of 20 years and people over the age of 60 would there still be some crossover in 'wants' for both age categories?

Download the 'Needs and Wants' activity here.

Jonny Clark

Jon Clark has been teaching economics and business studies for over 25 years primarily in the Further Education sector. Before joining tutor2u, he was a senior manager at South Cheshire College in Crewe.

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