Factors of Production: What Are Those?
When I began teaching middle school social studies four years ago, one of my challenges was finding ways to make learning about the economy interesting for 6th graders, a subject that even I was not a fan of in school. I found that making the subject interactive, with several larger activities and projects did the trick. One of these projects is exploring the factors of production, which are natural resources, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship. I wanted to find a way to make these ideas more tangible for my students. To do this, I have my students find a partner and tell them their task is to create something, anything they want. As they are designing their inventions, they have to keep in mind the factors of production they would need to create their products. Some of the elements they need to consider are the following: do they need land (natural resource) on which to put a factory? Will they hire employees (labor) to help build their product? What kind of capital (financial capital and capital goods) do they need? Who are the entrepreneurs (usually themselves)? They are always so excited to begin designing!
Their creativity blossoms with this project, and it is so fun to see the great designs they come up with! This year, we had a floating car, a baking machine that did everything for you (including measuring out the ingredients and washing the dishes), a candle that could be designed to look like whatever person you wanted, and a pencil that contained multiple different colors. The ingenuity of my 6th graders amazes me every year. I love to see them love learning!