Scarcity Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Teach your students about scarcity with a lesson that makes a personal connection. This lesson plan includes a video lesson to present the material and a small group activity to help students apply the concepts.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define scarcity
  • outline the factors related to scarcity
  • explain the relationship between scarcity and the Production Possibility Frontier


30 minutes to 1 hour

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.

Key Vocabulary

  • Scarcity
  • Production Possibility Frontier
  • Economics

Materials Needed

  • Chart and construction paper, crayons, markers and other art supplies.


  • Begin by asking students to share the name of their favorite band or artist.
  • Now ask them to imagine that this band or artist is coming to town to play a concert, but that all the tickets are already sold out. What kinds of things could they do to try to get their hands on a ticket? How far would they go to get a ticket? Discuss as a class.
  • Now play the video lesson What is the Basic Economic Problem of Scarcity?
  • Pause at 3:16. Ask students if they would still be willing to do the things discussed as a class if their favorite band or artist played every single night in town. How would their willingness to do these things change if the tickets were free? Discuss how these changes relate to scarcity as described in the video lesson.
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson.


  • Break the students up into small groups. Have each group of students use the Internet to research news stories related to one of the hottest holiday gifts of the past five years.
  • Have students write down notes about the item. Was the item in short supply or tough to get? If so, what did people do to get their hands on the item? What happened when the item was no longer in short supply? How does this relate to the Production Possibility Frontier and scarcity?
  • Have students use chart and construction paper, crayons, markers and other art supplies to create a visual representation of their item and the information they came across.
  • Have groups share their projects and findings with the class.

Discussion Questions

  • Does the scarcity of an item make us want it more? Why?
  • How different would the world economy be if scarcity did not exist?


  • Have students research and report on the most expensive pieces of art and jewelry sold in the past year. Was scarcity a factor? How about the Production Possibility Frontier?
  • Ask students to interview their parents and grandparents about scarcity of resources when they were children. How do their answers differ from those of the students when asked the same questions?

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