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Cowboy Bob Builds a Community
Source: Council for Economic Education (EconEdLink) | Type: Lesson
A cowboy rides into a ghost town and decides that it needs to be rebuilt. Students will select the necessary things that a town needs in order for it to function and grow.
- Economics 10: Role of Economic Institutions
This lesson could be used for the development of a region. I used it, however, when talking about mining towns becoming "Ghost Towns". Students discussed what they thought would be important in a town to make people want to live there. They debated wants versus needs and goods versus services.
Students loved creating a town and putting in the services that the town needed and then discussing what goods come from those services. They had difficulty understanding the concept of public versus private goods, but were able to understand public and private services.
I fit this lesson into two 45 minute sessions, but did not include the extras such as the computer part or inviting speakers to the classroom.
Cowboy Bob Builds a Community – The idea of rebuilding a ghost town grabbed the attention of the students immediately. This lesson allowed students to work independently and with small groups. Their creative minds came together as they discussed all the necessary businesses needed in a successful community.
The students were very interested in discussing the questions about types of businesses in our area. They also used their reasoning skills while we created a chart listing businesses or service agencies that are established for the good of the public and businesses that provide goods or services only to people who pay for them. The chart also helped them distinguish which of the businesses or agencies are paid for by taxes and which ones depend on money from customers who pay for the goods and services.
The chart we created was very helpful for the students as they worked on the questions in the Process section of the lesson. Projecting the questions from the Process section for all students to read was necessary.
The Assessment Activity and Extension Activity were great. I assigned groups to discuss questions about businesses in a successful community and to design it. They worked together to decide which businesses were the most important. Then, I evaluated them individually by assigning each student to create their own community and label the types of businesses using our chart we created together at the beginning of the lesson.
I highly recommend this lesson for students and teachers. It was well written and engaged the learners throughout all of the activities.
I like that this lesson can be made into a history lesson as well as an economic lesson. It is interesting to see what students think is necessary to keep a town running. I also like the idea of bringing in a mayor or someone of importance in the city, and having the students interview them, as this can lead to a government discussion as well. Very adaptable lesson.
I teach 4th grade and will use this great idea as a writing activity. It will be interesting to discover what students believe are necessary buildings and services for a town.
How about replacing the gas stations with public transportation? It is time to think green and conserve. If you don't have a car dealer, where are people going to buy a car to put fuel in?
I was very surprised that a school was not considered essential. Also, could the car dealership have been a bicycle shop? I wish there were more to this activity. I found it too simplistic. My second graders were beyond this in their thinking.
To extend this further add in drawing up business plans for each entity. In today's world financial education is important. To Arlington - a school suggested as were the word "might be" not a comprehensive list to be sure. I would add some cultural items as well. Such as museum (of any kind) performing arts center etc - also parks.