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Specialization and Production

Essential Purpose

Communities form when people do not have to depend upon themselves to produce all of the goods and services needed to survive. People are able to depend on others to produce some of the goods and services that they need, and they in turn are able to specialize and provide goods and services to others.

In this module, students will learn that producers can earn more by specializing in doing the things that they can do well. They will learn that specialization leads to increased production. They will come to understand that an economy in which people specialize results in higher levels of production. This increased production leads to an increase in trade.

Finally, students will learn that this idea of working together for the good of all is important in their own lives. They will learn that people specialize based on their individual talents and interests. This specialization requires them to depend on others to help them meet their needs – both personally and professionally. People who develop a special skill can produce more and will earn more money. When groups of people specializing in various areas work together and support each other, they all benefit by achieving a higher level of production.

National Economics Standards

Standard 6: Specialization and Trade

  • When individuals, regions, and nations specialize in what they can produce at the lowest cost and then trade with others, both production and consumption increase.

State/Local Standards

States should align these modules to their own state/local standards as appropriate.

Essential Questions:

  • Why do individuals choose to specialize?
  • How does specialization affect production?
  • What are the personal benefits of specialization?

Essential Content

  • Choice
  • Production
  • Producer
  • Consumer
  • Resources
    • Natural
    • Human
    • Capital
  • Division of Labor
  • Specialization
  • Assembly Line Production

Essential Skills

  • Evaluating Information for Decision-Making
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Categorizing information
  • Working Cooperatively

Summative Assessment

This performance assessment should be reviewed with students prior to using the activities in the module. Students should do the assessment after the activities have been completed.

Essential Questions:

  • Why do individuals choose to specialize?
  • How does specialization affect production?
  • What are the personal benefits of specialization?

Printable Student View

Prior Knowledge
Now that you have learned why individuals specialize and how this specialization affects production, you are ready to make a decision about how to best produce a product and how to choose the best individuals for each part of the job.
Recently, a disaster occurred which left many people homeless and hurt. Hospitals and shelters are crowded with families who have none of their belongings and little means of getting new ones. One hospital is full of children who were injured.

A local craft store has graciously agreed to donate all of the supplies needed to make teddy bears to send to these children. Two other local businesses have agreed to match the donation with books and clothing for these children. The more teddy bears produced, the more books and clothing the other businesses will donate. The bears must be cut from a pattern, glued around the edges, stuffed and sealed, painted with details and tied with a ribbon.

As president of the student council, you have decided to ask a committee of volunteers from your school to make teddy bears to send to these children.
Write a letter to the student body explaining the need to produce the teddy bears. Talk about how this project not only benefits the children in the hospital, but is also an opportunity for people to work together for a common good. Explain how the donations from other businesses will involve others in the process.

When you ask for volunteers you will also need to describe the process of production and the special skills needed for each part of the job.

Criteria for an Exemplary Response
Be sure your letter includes:

  • A persuasive argument for becoming involved in the project
  • A description and explanation of how to best produce the bears
  • An explanation of the effects of each business’s donations
  • A description of the special talents or skills needed to fulfill each task
  • An assessment of how the use of these talents to benefit others also benefits the person performing the service.

Scoring Guide

Updated December 31, 2019 11:36am