OPEC Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Most students have probably heard their parents talk about gas prices and how they seem to fluctuate all the time. This lesson is designed to give elementary students a basic understanding of OPEC and explain how and why gasoline prices tend to go up and down so often.

Learning Objectives

By the conclusion, students will be able to:

  • define OPEC
  • identify countries of OPEC on a world map


45-50 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.


  • access to related lesson: OPEC Facts: Lesson for Kids
  • access to related quiz: Quiz
  • hard copies of the related lesson
  • copies of a blank world map
  • copies of a regular world map
  • access to a large classroom sized world map


  • Begin by introducing the lesson.
    • Read the lesson description to the class.
    • Ask students if they have ever been with their parent or other adult while they were getting gas at a gas station.
    • Talk about what students may have heard adults say about gas prices.
    • Do they change?
  • Read the first section of the related lesson, ''Rent a Stroller.'' Discuss:
    • What happened in this story when there was no longer only one stroller for rent?
    • Why do you think one of the children with a stroller chose to rent it for only five cents?
    • What did the children decide when they got together? Why did they decide only to allow three strollers for rent?
    • What happened when there were too many strollers?
    • What do you think this story has to do with gas prices?
  • Read the section titled, ''Oil.'' Discuss:
    • What is petroleum?
    • What do you think happens when too much petroleum is produced (just like when there were too many strollers)?
    • What would happen if there was not enough petroleum produced?
    • What is OPEC?
  • Next, read the section, ''OPEC.'' Discuss:
    • What does OPEC stand for?
    • What is another word we often use instead of petroleum?
    • Explain what a non-renewable resource is.
    • Which were the original five countries of OPEC?
    • What countries joined OPEC later on?
    • What is OPEC responsible for doing?
    • Why is OPEC so important?
  • Finally, read the ''Lesson Summary.''
  • Review the vocabulary words: OPEC, petroleum, non-renewable.
  • Review answers to the questions discussed throughout the lesson.
  • Ask students to compare the prices of gasoline to the prices of strollers in the introductory story.
    • What happens when we have too much of something to sell (or rent)?
    • What happens when we have too little?
    • How do we determine what is the best amount?

Check for Understanding

  • Administer the quiz.
  • Check answers as a class.


To review and solidify learning, guide students through the following group activity.

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