Basic Principles of Economics

Updated on 23 May 2024


How do goods get to the store? This discover-focused series answers that question by taking readers on a journey of what happens to products before the store. From the creation of materials, through production, to the shipping dock, and onto store shelves, these fact-filled titles follow life cycles of everyday products and introduce students to the basic concepts of economics.


  • The student will describe the differences between natural resources, human resources, and capital resources.
  • Students will understand the key vocabulary terms related to basic economic principles.
  • Students will explain how producers use natural resources, human resources and capital resources to produce goods and services for consumers.


Grade 1 - Grade 5


Build Framework for Learning

Write the following key economic terms on the board or chart paper:

  1. Natural Resources — i.e., wood, water, coal
  2. Human Resources — i.e., people that operate machines
  3. Capital Resources — i.e., machines, tools, and buildings
  4. Producer — i.e., the companies that create products, or goods
  5. Consumer — i.e., the people that purchase the goods

Discuss the meanings of each word. Explain to students that natural resources are things like water, soil, and wood, while human resources and capital resources are used to create consumer goods out of raw natural resources.

Select the book, Before the Store: Orange Juice, to model the learning activity for the students. Share the Orange Juice Map on pages 30-31 with the students. Discuss the production path from the oranges picked from the trees to the orange juice that we purchase at the grocery store. Ask students to identify each step in the map as an example of a natural, human, or capital resource. Reinforce the meanings of each of these key terms as they are critical for student understanding of economic concepts. Begin reading Before the Store: Orange Juice with the students as a group activity. Start with the Table of Contents on page 3. Read the chapter titles and explain to the students that each chapter corresponds to the Orange Juice Map that you just discussed. Explain to the students that you will read the book aloud to them, but you want them to stop you when
they hear an example of one of the 5 key terms that you wrote on the board.

Read Chapter One on page 4. Students should be able to identify that
oranges (orange trees) are a natural resource.

Read Chapter Two on page 6. Students should be able to identify that orange farmers and pickers are examples of human resources while the trucks and the factories that turn the oranges into orange juice are examples of capital resources.

Continue reading the book in this fashion until you get to the Orange Juice Map on page 30. Ask students to identify which steps in the map are related to the consumer and which steps are related to the producer.
Producer — steps 1-5
Consumer — step 6

Display all of the books in the Before the Store series so that students can see each cover. Assign them to groups of 2 or 3 to complete the next activity. Provide each group with a Before the Store book. Ask them to start the exercise by reviewing the product map on pages 30-31. When they have had time to build a framework for learning with the visual map, provide each student with a copy of the Before the Store Product Map handout to complete as they read the book from the beginning.

Related Products

Title   ATOS Format Qty
Before the Store (12 titles)

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