A Chair For My Mother

Suggested Target Age: Grades 1-4

Source: Powell Center for Economic Literacy

Topics Covered: choice, income, marginal thinking, opportunity cost, saving

State Content Standards Key
California: English/LA 3rd grade ,listening 1.0, 1.2, 1.3; creative writing 2.1
Florida:SS.D.1.2 (sub points 1 and 2); LA.A.1.2;LA.B.1.2
Indiana: Social Studies(Economics) 1.4.5,2.4.5,4.4.10; English 2.3.2,3.5.1
Virginia: k. 7b, 1.8. 1.9. 3.9 Math 2.7, 2.8. 2.9; CE.9

Time Required: 20 minutes

What Will the Students Learn:

  1. How to evaluate costs and benefits when making decisions
  2. The difference between short term goals and long term goals

Materials Needed:

NOTE: This lesson does NOT require computers or Internet access

Teacher Preparation :Go to
http://www.powellcenter.org/uploads/7ChairForMyMotherU.pdf and print out and read through the lesson plan by Beth Vander Kolk. It will acquaint you with some of the key economic concepts covered in this lesson. Then read the book A Chair for My Mother so you are familiar with the story.

Introduction :
1. Gather students together in a classroom and ask the following question:

  • Have you or your family ever saved money for something special?

2. After a little discussion, show them the book, A Chair for My Mother, and explain that today you’re going to read them a story about a family that saved for something special.

3. Now follow the teaching steps as outlined by Beth in the lesson plan. (You will review some definitions with the students, then read the book aloud to the class. Students will then pair up and complete the activity handout as described.)

4. Beth offers some potential follow-up activities to consider when you’ve completed the lesson (e.g, having the children write the “next chapter” in the story). You could also lead the students in a discussion centered on these suggested questions:

  • How do people in your neighborhood show they care for one another?
  • How does each member of this family show they care for each other?
  • If you could buy a piece of furniture to suit your family’s needs, what would it look like?