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What Do You Need? (Extension Activity)
Links on this page: Student Sheet 

You are in an Extension Activity


Students will understand the difference between basic needs and wants.

Objectives: students will:

  • Identify basic human needs
  • Understand how wants differ from needs
  • Compare material items from various countries and cultures

Materials (For a class of 30):

  • Material World book
  • Do You Need - Student Sheet
  • Projection system

Time: 25 minute class period

Standards Met: E2, G2, G4, G5


  • Pass out Do You Need? Student Sheet and allow students time to answer question 1 on their student sheet.
  • Using a projection system, show students a variety of pictures from various countries.
  • Students should brainstorm a list of wants and needs they see represented in each picture on their student sheet.
  • Review their list after each picture.
  • Reflecting on the pictures, students should answer the rest of the questions on their student sheet.


 Do You Need? - Student Sheet

1. Brainstorm a list of things every human needs to survive.

2. Using the chart below, brainstorm a list of wants and needs that are represented in each picture.














3. Based on the pictures, what disparity did you notice between some of the countries and the United States?

4. What things in your life do you want, but don't necessarily need?

5 .How many of those items listed above contribute to greenhouse gas emissions?

6 .Is there a way that you can reduce your emissions?

7. Currently there is a debate on whether developing countries should be allowed to develop in the same way as the United States. This would mean that they would be allowed to have the same high per capita emissions rate. If you could make suggestions to people in developing countries about emissions, what would you recommend? Consider power sources, transportation, and industry in your suggestions.


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