Key Stage 2 Skills for Active Citizenship

Year 5 and 6 Making Consumer Choices

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Lesson Plan

Teaching ObjectivesPossible Teaching ActivityLearning Outcomes

Children should learn:

  • that there is a difference between what we need and what we want
  • what choices we have to make when we go shopping
  • about the effects that advertising has on their decisions to purchase
  • the value of money and how important it is to save for the things they want to buy

Start the lesson by talking about going shopping. Do the children like to go shopping? Ask them to make a list of the types of things that they like to buy. Use their lists to discuss with them the differences between their needs and wants.

Ask the children to think about why they like to buy the items they have identified. What do they think about when deciding what to buy? Make a class list of the top 5 reasons of what makes the children decide what to buy.

Talk to the children about advertising. What types of places do we see adverts. Have they ever seen an advert that has made them want a toy or game?

Talk to the children about money. Explain to them that you need money to buy things. Talk to them about pocket money and ask them whether they would save their pocket money to buy something that they really wanted.

  • Children will be able to recognise that they make choices about what to buy every day and that there is a difference between what they want and what they need
  • Children will understand that there are different things that affect the decision they make including advertising
  • Children will understand the importance of money and how saving can help you to buy the things you want

Teachers Notes

What is the difference between what I want and what I need?

Background Notes

In the UK, it is an everyday practice to travel on buses or trains, perhaps visit the doctor or dentist, go to the library, have a haircut, go to the cinema or watch television.

We all buy goods and services everyday and most of them we choose to buy because we want them. Some people will even think that they need them - ie,

'I simply cannot live without a new pair of designer trainers'.

The reality of the matter is that we all could actually live on very little if we had to. All we really need to survive is food and drink, warmth and shelter. For many people around the world their wants will be the type of things that we take for granted everyday.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Classroom discussion

Talk to the students about needs v wants. What is the difference between wanting something and needing it?

Ask the students to make 2 lists, one of things that they need and one of things that they want.

Does everyone have the same basic needs to satisfy? How do we prioritise our needs?

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How do I decide what to buy?

Background Notes

There are many different factors that influence our decisions and these include:

Decisions made on the spur of the moment (impulses) or those that have been heavily influenced by other people can often lead to disappointment.

There is a skill involved in resisting this kind of pressure so that you end up choosing what you really need - and not what someone else wants you to buy.

To help avoid being let down try asking yourself some of these questions:

If you think and answer honestly you stand a much better chance of finding what you really need.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Classroom Discussion

Ask the students to think about the clothes they are wearing now and try to analyse what made them choose them. Were they restricted in some way by their parents or by the school who insisted on a certain style or colour?

If there were no restrictions, what would you be wearing now and why?

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Does advertising help me decide what to buy?

Background Information

In the world today, advertising is big business. Companies spend millions of pounds trying to convince us that we simply cannot live without their products.

Advertisers use every possible medium - TV, radio, posters, national and local newspapers, magazines, shop windows, on product packaging, etc, to ensure that we get the message.

A great deal of time and money is spent getting advertising campaigns just right:

All of these are done to try and ensure that we are convinced that we simply cannot live without a particular pair of trainers or that we will have so much fun if we play with a particular toy.

No matter who the target audience may be or which medium is used, all advertisements have a common objective - they are designed to sell products and, on occasions, advertisers get carried away in their enthusiasm to sell their products.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Classroom Discussion

Select 6 different adverts from magazines - varying in colour and interest. Ask the children what they like and do not like about each advert and make a list. Which is their favourite advert and why?

Advertising Design Activity

Ask the children to draw an advert for a new product. You can ask them to all design the same product or let then choose one from a range of products.

Allow the children to choose a name for their new product.

Ask the children to think who they are targeting with their advert.

Ask the children to think up a strap line which will make their product memorable, eg - Have a break, have a Kit Kat.

Ideas for new products

Resources and Information

The Media Smart® website ( has been designed to primary school children interpret and understand advertising. This free teaching resource is mapped to the National Curriculum and is particularly useful for the literacy hour. It includes: teaching video, poster, teachers’ notes, activity sheets and a leaflet for parents.

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How can I pay for my shopping?

Background Information

In today's world there are a number of ways to pay for the things you want to buy.

It doesn't matter where your money comes from or where you put it - in a bank, building society or in a piggy bank, you can guarantee that once you start to buy things, it will begin to reduce the amount of money that you have.

If people spend more than they have, they will be in debt - they will owe somebody or an organisation money.

It is not always bad to be in debt. In fact some things are difficult to buy without taking out some form of loan - eg, a car or a house - and these types of loan are not usually thought of as a debt. It is important, however, never to borrow more than you can afford to pay back.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Class lessons and Projects

Money Counts ( is available from the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) ( and provides teachers with the tools to develop children's financial capability within the context of mathematics. Money Counts offers activities suitable for the main part of a daily numeracy or mathematics lesson and three extended projects that develop real-life contexts for money.

Information and Resources

Mega Money ( is a set of 40 large demonstration coins (five of each denomination) that is available from the Personal Finance Education Group ( to help develop childrens' coin recognition and understanding of money. The coins are printed both sides on laminated cards and are supplied with teachers' notes offering activities for children in the 5-9 age range.

Project Work

Colossal Cards ( have been developed by the Financial Services Authority ( for pupils aged 10-14 and can be used to teach the wide range of ways in which money can be represented offering pupils opportunities to investigate in detail.

Case Studies

The Personal Finance Education Group website ( has a range of case studies that are suitable for use with KS 2 pupils.

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