Meeting Needs Four Ways (6th Grade)

6, 7, 8

The students will discover the importance of diverse roles of the four U.S. economic sectors (For Profit, Nonprofit, Government and Household) and how they meet the needs of the population. They will explore how these sectors work together to form a civil society.

PrintOne Sixty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • list the businesses necessary in a community.
  • categorize organizations as for-profit, nonprofit, or governmental.
  • explain the importance of each sector to every day life.

Purposes (Handout One) – multi copies

Teacher Preparation 

It is important to be sensitive to the possibility that someone in your class may have some personal experience with homelessness, hunger and poverty.

“My experience during this service project was like____________because_________________”


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Instruct the learners to create a list of all of the places they (or their family) have been in the last week. Allow five to seven minutes for students to develop this list.

  2. Create a chart with four columns. The labels are to be left off the chart until the end of this portion of the activity. Choose a recorder to write the name of the businesses on the chart as they are directed. The teacher will direct the recorder to write specific answers as they are given. Learners are then asked to share two of the places, from the list they have generated during the anticipatory set. The teacher will direct the recorder to write the name of the place in the second column each time a government location is mentioned, the first column each time a for-profit business is given, and the third column each time a nonprofit is suggested. Once the lists have been created, ask the students to come up with some ideas as to why the places were classified into these three different groups. The teacher will then put the name of the category on the appropriate column of the chart. Note: If students do not include enough locations or places for any of the columns, then the teacher should feel free to provide examples of their own to balance the chart.

  3. Discuss the similarities/difference between for-profit, nonprofit, and government sector. Use Attachment One: Sector Information for Discussion as a discussion guide. Tell the students that the three sectors work together to supply goods and services and to meet needs and wants. Many types of organizations/businesses may exist in more than one sectors. As an example,public school may be nonprofit while a charter or private school may be for-profit or nonprofit. More obvious examples of different sectors could be given using General Motors as a for-profit organization and the Red Cross as a non-profit.

  4. Ask the students what they think the fourth sector (for the fourth column) may be. Tell them it represents the Household Sector. Households supply goods and services to meet wants and needs just like the other three sectors. Write household at the top of the third column. Use child-care as an example of how the four sectors work. There are for profit childcare centers, the government my run a tax supported childcare center, a nonprofit, such as a faith based organization may offer childcare and family members (such as grandparents) may supply childcare.

  5. Help the students realize that in the United States our system of democracy depends all four of these sectors working side-by-side to meet the diverse needs of the people.

  6. Tell the students that during the service project they will most likely be working with an organization from the nonprofit sector in distributing the goods or money they collect to the people who need them.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Identify the business, government, family, and civil society sectors.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Describe how different needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Compare and contrast the roles of business, government, civil society sector, and family.
    3. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss examples of civil society organizations from a list of categories of organizations.