Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: Pigs Will Be Pigs

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Introduction and Summary
Pigs will be Pigs
was written by Amy Axelrod and illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally.   This is a story of a family of pigs who become hungry and decide that it is time to eat.  The only problem is they haven’t any money.  They turn their house upside down on a quest for loose change and some bills to have enough to go and eat.  The story is very kid friendly and the pictures are wonderful in capturing the stereotypical evidence that pigs really are pigs.  In the back of the book, it summarizes how much money the pigs did collect and shows it in a simple set of columns that the children could add together.  The book also asks about how much did their visit to the restaurant cost which would encourage some basic arithmetic.  Finally for those kids up for the challenge are encouraged to determine how much money did they have left after their dining experience.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used for a couple of different concepts.  It could be used for a younger audience just learning about the concept money and how money is used to buy goods and services.  It can also teach economic choices for example (I want this, but I need that to survive) economic cost.  For older groups of children it can be used to help teach addition and subtraction skills as well as also incorporating the economic cost of choices made.  The book touches on both economics and mathematics at the same time.  (VA SOL 2.8).

Additional Resources

  • This website titled Peanuts and Crackerjacks combines sports trivia with economics questions.  It is geared for older kids and is a lot of fun while discussing economics.
  • This site includes a game called Dumptown which is all about recycling programs and managing expenses and revenue from recycling.  Teachers and parents can assist with this game until the students get the idea of it.
  • This site provides information that can be used to create an activity involving supply and demand or can be turned into a lesson plan on this concept.  This would be ideal for 3rd graders in their understanding of economics.

Book: Pigs will be Pigs
Author: Amy Axelrod
Illustrator: Sharon McGinley-Nally
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 31
Grade Range: 2nd – 4th grades
ISBN: 0-329-12098-0