Understanding factors of production can sometimes be a bit tricky for students. Age-appropriate activities are effective tools to help students visualize and understand the link between land, labor and capital and the role that each factor plays in the production of goods. Activities can help review the concepts of production factors while promoting classroom unity and boosting test scores.
Split your class up into two teams. Draw a chart illustrating the four factors of production on the board, with the headings: Labor; Land; Capital; Entrepreneurship. Have pre-written index cards prepared in a basket with various words on them, such as apple, meadow and car. Choose someone to begin. Instruct the student to pull a card from the basket and write the word beneath the correct heading. If the student is correct, a point is awarded to the corresponding team. Offer both teams rewards for playing or offer just the winning team a reward, based on age-appropriateness.
For a simple activity where the students can better classify factors of production terms, ask students to draw a chart on a piece of paper. Instruct them to label sections with four titles: Land; Labor; Capital; Non-applicable. Ask each student to think of an item or a word. Write that word, such as teacher, lake or factory, on the board. After each student has stated a word, instruct the students to quietly place each word inside each of the correct areas on their charts. Review the words and the correct placements of the items together. This activity works best for elementary students.
Candy Bar Time Line
This lesson works best for 10th grade and up. Place a mini-candy bar on the desk of each student. Ask the student to not touch or eat the candy bar while you discuss on the overhead projector or interactive whiteboard everything that went into making that candy bar, such as the idea, the sugar, machinery, electricity, gas, and trucks to haul the candy to the stores. Explain the definitions for the four factors of production: land; labor; entrepreneurship; capital. Instruct the students to draw a time line of the creation of the candy bar on white paper or poster board, from the idea to the moment it landed on the student's desk. Ask them to use one color for each factor of production. Students may eat the candy bar as they work.
Goods and Services Collage
This activity calls for poster board, markers and glue. Divide your class into small groups of four. Instruct students to cut pictures of items out of newspapers and magazines and glue them underneath headings in a chart that they draw themselves. The headings need to illustrate the four factors of production; labor, capital, entrepreneurship and land. This activity can be done with almost any age group and will help students learn to apply items to production categories.
As a former elementary school teacher, Cheryl Starr now writes full-time from Missouri. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including "Teachers of Vision," "Insight" and "Highlights." She is currently writing a novel and a devotional book. Starr studied elementary education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.