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Elementary Economics: Teaching Goods and Services

Grade: Elementary Aged Students


This lesson plan for elementary school students focuses on helping learners determine the difference between goods and services. It allows them to discuss economic activities and categorize them into goods or services. In a nutshell, this lesson plan will cover:

  • What goods and services are
  • How to categorize goods from services and vice versa


  • Worksheet (Here is an example of a worksheet you can use, or you can create one yourself.)
  • Writing utensil
  • Paper or whiteboard (You can use these tools instead of a worksheet.)

Benefits of the Activity: 

Understanding the different concepts of goods and services is crucial for children from an early age. It gives them a solid foundation to grow into more aware adults who understand why goods and services are essential for the smooth running of the economy.


Pull out varied items such as a chocolate bar, a t-shirt, or a shampoo bottle. Then pull out advertisements for a haircut, oil change, or an amusement park ticket. Show each item to your students and keep them visible throughout the lesson.

Ask your students what these items have in common and what they don’t. You will receive varied answers from students; lead them into the Ask/Teach portion of the lesson below.


  • Goods:
    • The first step of helping learners understand the definition of goods and services is writing “goods and services” on the whiteboard. Proceed to define “goods” as the physical products people sell. Insist that goods are tangible items. Ask the students to share examples of goods; acceptable answers include cars, toys, food, and shoes.
    • Repeat the definition to the learners until you feel like they have grasped it. The next step is to use examples of nearby stores to explain the types of goods they sell. While at it, ask questions such as “Where do we buy our food? Who sells shoes in our community?” Take answers from the students as you correct the wrong ones. The goal here is to help the children understand what goods are and where they can find them locally.
  • Services:
    • Once you feel the students have learned what goods are, define “services” as the work people do for others in exchange for money. Explain that some people do beneficial things for others, which they are then paid for. Ask your students for examples of different services; answers may include teaching, removing garbage, delivering products, etc.
    • Help the students identify service providers in your community. Teach them about the services that hospitals, barbershops, and local internet service providers offer. Insist that services are not always tangible.


After helping the learners distinguish the difference between goods and services, it’s time to test their level of understanding. Pair the students and supply them with whiteboards or sizeable blank papers. On one side of the paper, write “goods.” Draw a perpendicular line between and write “services” on the other.

Ask the students to come up with a list of goods and services, placing them on either side as appropriate. If the learners are younger, you can have pictures containing goods and people undertaking different services. Ask the students to color and place the pictures where they think they belong in their goods and services columns.


You can hand the students a takeaway assignment at the end of the lesson. Ask them, with the help of their parents, to identify the different goods and services in their homes and write them down. The assignment allows the students to grasp the concept better.

If you choose to teach and let them leave, the chances are that the learners will forget everything you have taught after they exit the classroom is high. You need to drive home the destination between goods and services with some homework or a larger project that they can complete over a week or two. 


Learning the definition, differences, and benefits of goods and services is crucial for building the economic foundation of learners from an early age. At advanced levels, economics is a field full of financial prospects. It has become a source of livelihood for many people; having a solid foundation in this field is an added advantage.

This lesson plan highlights everything elementary students need to learn regarding goods and services. Our focus is to help the kids learn in a fun way.

Written by Mary Joseph
Education World Contributor
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