Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Making Good Money Choices (2nd grade)
Lesson 3
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Students will use an economic decision-making model to help them decide where to donate money they have collected. They will evaluate what is most important to them (develop criteria for giving) and list possible alternatives for donating the money. Based on this economic decision-making process, the class will come to consensus on how to make a reasoned choice about using their money.


Grades 2-3—One Forty-Five Minute Class Period
Grades 4-—Two Forty-Five Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • review economics and philanthropy vocabulary words from previous lessons.
  • learn new economic and philanthropy vocabulary  words using a game, Philanthropy EconAround Bingo
  • use an economic decision-making process.
  • define how choices can effect their own well-being and that of the community.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

Students will identify community needs and propose ideas about how to respond to them with donated monies. They will come to consensus and choose the best alternative that will advance the common good, given their criteria for giving. At the end of the unit, they donate the money to the selected cause or charity.


  • Grades 4 & 5: Philanthropy EconAround Bingo game  (Attachment Two). An EconAround Bingo  blank bingo sheet, found with the game, will need to be duplicated for each student).
    Teacher Note: Two versions of the game are included in this lesson: Attachment Two contains the original game (47 cards), Attachment Three contains a more basic introductory set of game cards (28 cards) and a game sequence list for introducing economics and philanthropy vocabulary.  Choose the most appropriate version for your students based on their prior knowledge of economic and philanthropy vocabulary.  If the introductory version is chosen, students could move on to the original version once they become familiar with the initial vocabulary.  
  • Penny or small stone and a wide pan or bowl of water
  • Decision-Making Model Grid  (Attachment One: Economic Decision-Making Model)
  • Four charts from Lesson One: Save, Spend, Donate, and Invest 
Handout 1
Economic Decision Making Model
Handout 2
Philanthropy EconAround Bingo Game
Handout 3
Philanthropy EconAround Bingo - Introductory Version

Instructional Procedure(s):

Day One
Anticipatory Set:
Introduce Philanthropy EconAround Bingo (Attachment Two or Three) by telling students they will be playing game in class today to review and learn new economics vocabulary.

Teacher Note:  Prepare yourself ahead of time by reading Philanthropy EconAround Bingo rules and suggestion.  Allow 30-45 minutes for the first- time playing the game (successive game times will take considerably less time than the first time).  Students will be reviewing, practicing, and reinforcing their understanding of important vocabulary words from Lessons One and Two, and other important basic vocabulary words of economics and philanthropy.
Five to ten small Bingo prizes (pencils, healthy snacks, etc.) may be helpful to use as incentives to motivate the students during the game.

Day Two:
Review the “donate” chart. Review the definition of philanthropy as the giving or sharing of time, talent or treasure for the common good.  Introduce the word charity by writing on the board and explaining that charity is “money or other help given to aid those individuals or groups who are in need.” Ask students for some examples of charities in your community. Tell the students that today they will come to a consensus about how the money they are collecting will be spent or donated for charity.Talk about how much money has been collected so far. Use a penny or appropriate small stone, and bowl of water to demonstrate the ripple effect, how the economic decision they make as a class will have a ripple effect on the members of the class, the people who receive the gift, and probably others in the community.

  • Review (from Lessons One and Two) why acting philanthropically is good for the community.
  • Tell the students that you are going to show them a logical, fair, and intelligent way to make decisions that they can use throughout their lives to make good economic decisions.  The class will be using the Economic Decision-Making Model to make a decision together about the money they collected to donate. Tell students that there are five steps of good decision making. (Write the following on the board or chart paper)
    1. Determine the decision to be made.
    2. Brainstorm several action ideas.
    3. Determine the criteria in making the decision.
    4. Evaluate the good and the bad points of each of the ideas in light of the important factors.
    5. Make a decision!

Teacher Note:  Explain to students that criteria are those things we think are important when deciding what to do.  For instance, wanting food to taste good, wanting food to be healthy for us, wanting food to be easy to fix, are all criteria we could use in deciding what to eat!

  • Draw a decision-making grid on the board, chart paper, or overhead projector (see Attachment One: Decision-Making Model).

  • Brainstorm action ideas by asking “To what causes could we donate the money we raise?” Brainstorm with students using a separate space on the board or overhead. List all their suggestions. Through discussion, reduce the list if possible to three to five alternatives or choices. Transfer these choices to the left column of the Decision Making Model grid. (These may be names of local charitable organizations or any other suggestions for what to do with class donations. You may include other suggestions such as buying something for the class. These choices can go through the decision making process, but will probably be rated low overall if the criteria are geared toward benefiting others).

  • Talk about some of the issues that should be considered as they evaluate their choices: How can we use limited resources to the best advantage?  What is a need in the local community?  What is a community?  What things (criteria) are important to the class when making a donation to benefit the common good?

  • Explain that we need to have some criteria, or important things to consider, when making the best decision out of the various action ideas (choices) brainstormed by the class. It must be a decision that as many of the class as possible can support. Fill in the top row of the decision making model with some of the following criteria, and/or use additional criteria important to the students. Try to arrive at least four meaningful criteria so students can see the benefits of the model (it may be helpful to use a question format on the grid itself).
    1. Will this meet a community need?
    2. Will our donation benefit people (animals, children, the environment, or other class interest)?
    3. Will our donation enhance the common good?
    4. Is it a local charity?
    5. How many people will be affected by our donation (estimate)?
  • Evaluate each action idea (alternative) with the class, one criteria at a time. Have them raise their hands and take a tally after you ask each question. (For example, if the first action idea is to give to a local food pantry, ask each of the criteria across the top of the grid questions and count the number of children who respond “yes” to each.)  Write that number in the appropriate box.

  • Remind students of opportunity cost being the next best alternative we give up when we make a choice, and that thinking about what they are giving up in each decision actually helps them make better decisions.  Younger students will probably have a little tougher time understanding this initially, so a simple example of deciding to break a rule could result in an opportunity cost of not being able to have recess. Recess is the next best alternative given up in this case.

  • Evaluate the number of positive responses for each criteria chosen corresponding to each idea or choice. Compare and discuss the results.  If some criteria are more important than others, give them more “weight” when calculating the impact. Make a consensus decision together based on the highest number of positive responses and the relative importance of certain criteria over others. The alternative with the highest number of total votes should be the first choice. Explain that the opportunity cost for choosing the first choice is not being able to donate to the second best choice on the list of alternatives.

  • Debrief after you make a decision using these questions as a guide:
    1. Is this decision making model a good way to make a decision? Why or Why not?
    2. Can you think of other decisions where this model could be used?
    3. What could we have done better in this decision making process?
    4. What did you learn from this decision making lesson?


Teacher observation of student participation in the decision-making process.

School/Home Connection:

Interactive Family/ Student Homework:
Copy the completed decision-making grid from the classroom discussion. Send a copy home with students along with a blank decision-making grid for the family to use. Request that parents ask their child about the process used in class and/or show their child how they use or can use the process to help with a current economic decision being made in their family.

Bibliographical References:

  • PACED “Decision-Making Model Grid” from Master Curriculum Guide.  Teaching Strategies, 3-4.  National Council on Economic Education.

Lesson Developed By:

John Noling
Curriculum Consultant
Learning to Give


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Economic Decision Making Model

Handout 2Print Handout 2

Philanthropy EconAround Bingo Game

A Brain-Friendly Concepts and Definitions Game Integrating Economics with Philanthropy

Produced byJohn Noling, Learning To Give Instructional Consultant and Melinda Dickinson, 5th Grade Teacher, Lansing Public Schools, Educator Associate, Michigan Council on Economic Education

Special Acknowledgements To: David Dieterle, Michigan Council on Economic Education; Marge Kosin, Vandyke Public Schools;  David Klemm, Muskegon Area Intermediate School District; Fred Meston and 5th grade students from Mona Shores Public Schools; Carol Fellows and 5th grade students from Utica Community Schools; Barb Lundquist, Whitehall District Schools; and Barbara Dillbeck, Learning To Give

Philanthropy EconAround Bingo is brought to you by:
Learning To Give


Directions for Philanthropy EconAround Bingo Original Version OR Introductory Version

  1. Give each student a copy of the Philanthropy EconAround Bingo Vocabulary List, ablank bingo form, and sufficient Bingo tokens (not supplied).  Instruct each student tocreate their own “lucky” Bingo card by choosing 24 words from the Vocabulary Listto write into the 24 open boxes on their bingo form.
  2. Pass out all of the Philanthropy EconAround cards, giving some students more thanone if necessary.
  3. Ask students to find and read the definition for the “I have...” term on theircard(s) on the Vocabulary List and be ready to respond when the proper “Who has?”cue is given.
  4. Ask any student to start by reading the “Who has...?” portion of their card.  When astudent responds with the correct  “I have”..., all students who have that word ontheir Bingo card place a token on that space.  Ask students to repeat the definition asecond time for reinforcement.  Give real-life examples of the term if this is ateachable moment.
  5. The student who correctly responded will then read the “Who has?…” portion of  thesame card.  The appropriate person responds by saying “I have…”
  6. Continue this process until someone has Bingo!  Keep playing until all cards areused and you are back to the first person who started the game who will say “Ihave…” to end the game.  Teachers may refer to the Philanthropy EconAroundBingo Game Sequence sheet to become aware of what cards are coming next in thegame sequence.


General Suggestions for use of Philanthropy EconAround Bingo Original Version AND Introductory Version

IMPORTANT CAUTION FOR TEACHERS:  Students may “know the words” but not understand theconcepts behind them , so just rehearsing vocabulary words is not sufficient or recommended.  Studentsneed an “in-their-own-words” understanding of each of these terms and concepts.  It is important tointegrate quality economics and philanthropy lessons and activities into your Social Studies teachingwhere students will use these words, and many more, to deeply understand the concepts underlyingthem.  See suggestions below for websites and programs to assist in this area.

General Suggestions:

  • For best results, play the “Philanthropy EconAround” portion while conducting the “Bingo” activity.However, either portion can stand alone as a quality learning activity.  The word game itself canbe played without Bingo if desired.
  • Pause during the game as needed to give or ask for personal examples from life, discussgraphics on a particular card, or connect with real-world events from the news.  As students learnthe concepts and definitions, the game will flow much more smoothly than the first time through.Be patient.  Repeat the game periodically and work to improve times.
  • After the first one or two winners at Bingo, have students clear their Bingo sheets and start overagain with the Bingo portion while keeping the rest of the game going with the vocabularysequence of cards.  This adds more suspense and keeps the number of Bingo winnersreasonable.  Small prizes for Bingo make great incentives.
  • A note about opportunity cost and trade offs.   Opportunity cost and trade offs are different,but related.  Opportunity cost is the total cost to you, (what you gave up), of the next bestalternative to the one you chose.  It is not the sum of all the costs of the many alternatives youpassed up, only the next best one.  Trade offs are different in that it refers to giving up a little ofone or more alternatives in order to get a little more of another.  So, making a choice does notalways mean an “all or nothing” situation results.  It just means you don’t necessarily  have togive up an alternative completely.  You can in many situations in life get some or most of analternative to satisfy your wants while getting a little more of something else you also wantbecause of your economic decision to make a trade off.   Each trade off  you make, howeversmall it is, is really a choice between alternatives that reveals the  opportunity cost of selectingone alternative over the other.
  • Customize EconAround Bingo by creating new cards (using blanks included) or deleting somecards that do not fit your curricular needs. The game is a continuous loop, so you will need to“break into the loop” at the appropriate point by doing some manual cutting and pasting of “Ihave” and “Who has?…” prompts.  Clip art can be found on the Internet or other print sources.Some terms not included in the game which you may consider adding are:  cash, currency,coin, credit, command economy, traditional economy, division of labor, public goods,private goods, government sector, etc.   For reputable glossaries of Social Studies andeconomics terms, consult your state or local curriculum sources. For philanthropy terms, checkwww.learningtogive.org., go to Resource Room, then click on Vocabulary.

For high quality lessons, activities, and other resources, the following sites and programs are HIGHLY recommended:

  1. www.kidseconposters.com   KidsEcon Bingo game available here.  Click on LiteratureConnections for great lessons tied to excellent trade books, also click on Econ Songs for29 great songs you can download.
  2. www.ncee.net  Click on EconEd Link and you are in business with over 350 free lessons!
  3. www.fte.org  Click on For Teachers, then Lesson Plans and you will be amazed!  Be sureto check out Economics for Leaders program for teachers and students!
  4. www.learningtogive.org  Over 1,600 well-crafted philanthropy education and service-learning oriented units and lessons that integrate real-world action with all subject areas.  Clickon Lesson Search Engine, then Keyword Search and see how easy it is to find great lessons aligned with state and national standards.
  5. Link the terms, concepts, and graphics from the game with The 6 Core Economic Principleswhenever appropriate:
  6. People Choose
  7. All Choices Involve Costs
  8. People Respond to Incentives In Predictable Ways
  9. Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices and Incentives
  10. Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth
  11. The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future  

Philanthropy EconAround Bingo Game Sequence - Original Version

Following is the sequence of  the 47 terms and concepts built into Philanthropy EconAroundBingo. The logic of this sequence is designed so that both philanthropy and economic termsand concepts build on each other in a spiraling level of complexity, beginning with Economicwants and ending with the term Incentives. Of course, the game can be started at any point inthe sequence and continue around to where it first began.

1. Economic wants 13. Common Good 25. Supply and Demand 37. Surplus
2. Productive resources 14. Trade Off 26. Market Economy 38. Philanthropy
3. Human resources 15. Budget 27. Distribution 39. Trade
4. Natural resources 16. Goods 28. Economics 40. Interdependence
5. Capital resources 17. Services 29. Profit 41. Imports
6. Entrepreneur 18. Consumers 30. For-Profit Sector 42. Exports
7. Scarcity 19. Producers 31. Nonprofit Sector 43. Taxes
8. Community Need 20. Volunteer 32. Individual Ownership 44. Saving
9. Choice 21. Money 33. Partnership 45. Interest
10. Cost 22. Barter 34. Corporation 46. Investing
11. Opportunity Cost 23. Price 35. Specialization 47. Incentives       
12. Benefit 24. Market 36. Productivity  





























Instructions: Create your own lucky Philanthropy EconAround Bingo sheet!  Choose 24 different terms and concepts from the Philanthropy EconAround Bingo Vocabulary List and write one in each open square above.


Philanthropy EconAround Philanthropy Bingo Vocabulary List - Original Version

Barter-  Direct trading of goods and services without using money.

Benefits-  Something  good or of positive value to someone when making a choice or decision.

Budget-a time based plan for spending a limited resource.

Capital Resources-Goods produced and used to make other goods or services. (they helpincrease productivity.)

Choice-What someone must make when faced with two or more alternative uses for aresource.(also known as economic choice)

Common Good-the greatest possible benefit for the greatest possible number of individuals.

Community Need- a condition or situation in which something is required or wanted by citizens.

Consumers-People who buy, and/or use, goods and services.

Corporation-Business owned by a group of people legally bound together, who share all therisks and profits.

Cost- The total amount of money, time and resources accumulated when you make a choice,such as a purchase or an activity

Distribution- The delivery or movement of goods or services from producers to consumers.

Economics-The study of how people make choices when dealing with scarcity.

Economic Wants- Things people like or desire that can be satisfied by consuming a good,service, or leisure activity. (also  known as wants)

Entrepreneur-An individual who takes the risk of producing a product or starting a newbusiness.

Exports-The goods and services producers in one nation sell to buyers in other nations.

For Profit Sector- that portion of the market economy composed of organizations providinggoods and services who seek to make a profit.

Goods- Objects people can hold or touch that can satisfy their economic wants.

Human Resources-The people who work to produce goods and services. (also known as laboror human capital)

Imports- The goods and services that consumers buy from sellers in other nations.

Incentives-  Benefits or costs that influence the choices people make.

Individual Ownership-A business owned and managed by one person who assumes all the riskof loss and gets all the profit.

Interdependence-What occurs when people and nations depend on one another to provide thegoods and services they want.

Interest-The money earned on the money saved and invested, or the money paid to use a credit card or take out a loan.

Investing-Putting money or resources to work in a way that increases the future value.

Market Economy-An economic system based on the interaction of supply and demand inmarkets to determine prices.

Market- What exists whenever people buy and sell goods and services and where prices aredetermined.

Money-What people use to buy goods and services.  (money is a good that is a medium ofexchange)

Natural Resources-“Gifts of  nature” that are used to produce goods and services. (also knownas land)

Nonprofit Sector- that portion of the market economy composed of organizations providinggoods and services, but not seeking to produce a profit.

Opportunity Cost-The next most valuable alternative you give up when you make a choice ordecision.

Partnership- A business owned by two or more individuals who share all the risks and profits.

Philanthropy- voluntarily giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good.

Price- The amount a buyer pays and seller receives for a good or service.

Productive Resources-The natural, human and capital resources we need to produce goodsand services. (also resources)

Productivity- The measure of how many goods or services that are produced by each worker.

Producer-People who use productive resources to make or sell goods or provide services.

Profit-The difference between  the money people make when they produce and sell a good orservice and all their costs of production?  (opposite of loss)

Savings-The part of a person’s income that is not spent for goods or services, or used to paytaxes.

Scarcity-The condition of not being able to have all the goods and services you want because oflimited resources.Services-Actions or work that a person does for someone else that can satisfy their economicwants.

Specialization-When people produce only some of the goods and services they consume, thentrade with others to get more of the things they want.

Supply and Demand- the interaction between sellers and buyers that determines prices in amarketSurplus-Having more goods, services, or resources available than you want.

Taxes- Money that households and business firms are required to pay to government to providepublic goods and services.Trade-Exchanging goods and services with people for other goods and services or money.

Trade-off- When you choose to get less of one thing in order to get more of something else.(Life is full of these!)

Volunteer- a person who gives or donates their time without pay.








Handout 3Print Handout 3

Philanthropy EconAround Bingo - Introductory Version

Follow the same Philanthropy EconAround Bingo game directions and suggestions found in Attachment Two for this Introductory Version. 



Introductory Version Game Sequence

The following is the sequence of the 28 terms and concepts built into Philanthropy EconAround Bingo - Introductory Version.  The logic of this sequence is designed so that both philanthropy and economic terms and concepts build on each other in a spiraling level of complexity, beginning with Benefits and ending with Wants.  Of course, the game can be started at any point in the sequence and continue around to where it first began.  Keep this handy as a reference document while the game is being played so the next expected response from the students can be anticipated by the teacher.

1. Benefits
2. Interest
3. Volunteer
4. Budget
5. Income
6. Invest
7. Trade
8. Charity
9. Incentives
10. Money
11. Spend
12. Needs
13. Goods
14. Natural Resources
15. Services
16. Choice
17. Goals
18. Opportunity Costs
19. Scarcity
20. Common Good
21. Donate
22. Philanthropy
23. Save
24. Consumers
25. Cost
26. Producers
27. Price
28. Wants

Philanthropy EconAround Bingo-Introductory Version
Vocabulary List

Benefits – Something good that happens to someone.

Budget – A spending plan that helps people keep track of their money.

Charity – Money or other help given to aid people in need.

Choice – When someone must make a decision between two or more things.

Common Good – Working together for the benefit of everyone.

Consumers – People who buy or use goods or services.

Cost – The price of a good or service.

Donate – Giving time, talent or treasure with no expectation of something in return.

Goals – Targets that help us achieve something in the future.

Goods – Objects that people can have to satisfy their wants.

Incentives – Positive or negative factors that motivate or influence people.

Income – Money that you take in.

Interest – The money earned on money saved.

Invest – Save money in a way that increases its value for future donating or spending.

Money – What people use to buy goods or services.

Natural Resources – Things from nature that are used to produce goods or services.

Needs – Things we must have or “need” to survive, such as food, water and shelter. 

Opportunity Cost – When a choice is made, the next best thing given up.

Philanthropy – Giving of time, talent or treasure for the common good.

Price – The amount a buyer pays and the seller receives for goods and services.

Producer – People who make or sell goods or provide services.

Save – Keep or put aside money for future wants or needs.

Scarcity – When we cannot have everything we want because all resources are limited.

Services – Actions or work that a person does for someone else to satisfy their wants.

Spend – Use money for something you want or need.

Trade – To exchange goods and services with people for other goods and services.

Volunteer – A person who gives or donates their time without pay.

Wants – Desires for goods and services we would like to have

Philanthropy Framework:

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