Wants vs. Needs
Using Freedom to explore the difference

Pam Whiffen is a teacher at Palo Verde Middle School in Phoenix and uses The American Promise to support cross-curricular lessons. This is her description of how she uses Freedom (She has also provided three print-ready class sheets that you can find below):

For two years now, I have used the segments from Freedom as a part of my unit on the difference between a want and a need. It challenges my middle school students to confront some tough, contemporary issues and often sparks animated classroom discussions. This unit combines science, art, social studies, language arts, reading, research, cooperative learning, use of technology and multiple intelligence.

First Day

I begin by taping two large poster-size pieces of paper to my white boards. One paper I label "wants" and the other I label "needs." I then ask the class to help me tell the difference between a want and a need. During this brainstorming session I write down as many of my students suggestions as possible without editing them. Once we as a class are satisfied that we have a clear idea of what the distinction is, I show the segments on Yosemite, the Philadelphia graffiti wars, and the lobster-fishing conflict from The American Promise videos. I then break the students into groups of four and have each group complete the worksheet "Freedom Means Doing What You Want... Or Does It?". It is due at the end of class. They are also told that each group will
be sharing their responses with the class the next day.

Second Day

Students return to their group from the previous class and take five minutes to review their completed discussion-starter sheet before we reconvene as a whole class to share responses. Once all groups have shared their responses with the class, I hand out the "Wants and Needs" worksheet and ask them to work together in their groups to complete question No. 5 on the worksheet. Then, I make a presentation on the difference between needs and wants, referring to FDR s "Four Freedoms" speech, exploring in particular "Freedom from Want." That night, for homework, students complete the worksheet and turn it in with a parent signature at the beginning of the next class.

Third Day

While I collect the homework, students complete a Quick Check sheet (www.americanpromise.com). After about five minutes, students trade sheets with someone at their table, sign the bottom and we review the answers as a class. Understanding the difference between wants and needs is important in personal decision-making and central to many contemporary policy issues, too. The group projects on page 11 explore the implications of wants and needs. Usually, I allow students two days to complete their presentations and one day to present their groups products. I provide art supplies and poster paper, give them computer lab time, and I circulate around the room as a facilitator.


Assignment A

Students are introduced to this site and each group chooses one of the six topics below to research and present to the class:
1. Who will be able to use our genetic information?
2. How can your genetic information be used?
3. When should genetic testing be done and who will be responsible for providing permission for the procedure?
4. Who and what needs to be treated using gene therapy? Should there be such a thing as an acceptable disability?
5. Should genetic enhancement procedures that are not used to treat, cure or prevent disease be permitted?
6. What issues of fairness are involved in gene therapy and genetic enhancement?

Assignment B

Students are introduced to this site and are given the following assignment: The use of plastic surgery has increased dramatically over the years for both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. After reviewing the information presented in this and other related sites, the group must design a list of 10 criteria that can be used to determine whether the procedure should be performed and who should pay for it. Then they design a poster that clearly illustrates these criteria and present it to the class.

Work Sheets
"Freedom Means Doing What You Want... Or Does It?"
"Wants and Needs" - Page 1
"Wants and Needs" - Page 2
Power Point Presentation
To download the file, right click and select "Save Target As"

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