Lesson 5: My needs and wants



Single class period


Homework Task:

Useful Links:


Every day, we make choices about what we need and what we want.  Very often these choices depend on how much money we have. The ability to distinguish and choose needs and wants is something that some people do instinctively.  For others, it is a skill that has to be learned. In this lesson, students explore and become more aware of the differences between needs and wants and will use their completed Weekly Spending Diary from Lesson Three to distinguish between their own spending on needs and wants.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Activity One:  Understanding needs and wants

1.   Tell the class that they are going to discuss the differences between needs and wants.

2.   Explain that each person’s needs and wants are personal to them so there is no right or wrong answer.

3.   Divide the class into pairs.

4.   Invite each pair to devise three sentences starting: ‘I need….because…’ and three sentences starting: ‘I want…because…’

5.   Take feedback from a sample of pairs, noting responses on the white/blackboard.

6.   Highlight the different types of responses. What some students express as a need, others may feel is more appropriately called a want and vice versa.

7.   Conclude by asking students to brainstorm who is responsible for meeting their needs. For example, all children and young people need food and shelter and their families usually take responsibility for making sure these needs are met.

Homework Task

Tell students they are going to look back over their Weekly Spending Diary (Lesson Three – Homework Task) and decide whether the items they purchased answered a ‘need’ or a ‘want’.

Remind the class that there is no right or wrong answer, because they are focusing on personal needs and wants.

Distribute one copy of Student Worksheet: Needs and wants to each student.

Invite students to look at each item in their Spending Diary at home and list each item under the heading of Need or Want according to where they think it belongs.

Explain that when all of the items from their weekly Spending Diary are input into the table in the Student Worksheet: Needs and wants they should calculate the total amount they spent in the week on ‘needs’ and how much on ‘wants’.

This type of audit on spending can help identify where cuts can be made and where savings are possible in the future.

The steps for reviewing this homework task are given at the start of Lesson Six.


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