Unit Overview


The Vision for Financial Literacy: “Ontario students will have the skills and knowledge to take responsibility for managing personal financial well-being with confidence, competence, and a compassionate awareness of the world around them” (A Sound Investment: Financial Literacy Education in Ontario Schools/Un investissement judicieux/L’éducation à la littératie financère, page 4)

These lessons empower students to use dance to explore compassionate awareness in a Needs versus Wants unit. They may be used in isolation, used together, or adapted to insert during a pre-existing Needs versus Wants unit. The order of these lessons may be altered in order to meet the needs of the teacher and the class.

The lessons continue to foster students’ learning of the Elements of Dance.


Through these lessons, students will examine their understanding of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, their relationship with money, and assess the value of charitable organizations in society. Students will investigate various media, such as song lyrics, peer/social/family pressures, and commercials and consider how their perception of money is influenced by the world around them. They will create their own movement pieces that explore these concepts, as well as express their own ideas. They will extend their understanding of the value of money to self and others, and begin to make connections between money and society: people relations and economic relations. Emphasis will be placed on collaboration and the creative process throughout the unit.

Unit Guiding Questions

What is the difference between a need and a want?
What are your needs and wants?
Why do people have different needs and wants?
How does consumerism/societal/political/economic/cultural pressures impact peoples’ opinions of what are needs and wants?
What are some of the social biases around money, saving money, and spending money?
What is the role, function, and purpose of charities?
Should you contribute to charities? Why or why not?
How should you contribute to charities? Financially? Volunteer? Support causes?
How do you decided how much to financially contribute to a charity?
How can dance be used to explore issues around needs vs. wants?

Assessment and Evaluation

Assessment FOR Learning

Lesson 1 - side-coaching, observation, student-teacher conference
Lesson 2 - teacher observation, group discussion, anchor chart
Lesson 3 - anchor chart, side coaching, conversations

Assessment AS Learning

Lesson 1 - teacher-student conferences, reflection
Lesson 2 - self/peer feedback of performances, oral questioning, student-teacher conferences, checklist, exit card
Lesson 3 - peer feedback: 2 stars and a wish, checklist

Assessment OF Learning

Lesson 1 - written responses, observation
Lesson 2 - reflective writing, summative checklist (per group and individual)
Lesson 3 - art cards: slogan writing, summative checklist (per individual)


Lesson 1 - Do I Really Need This?

Students will use their prior knowledge of the Elements of Dance: energy & time to examine energy words that express needs and wants.  Students will use dance as a vehicle to demonstrate the internal conflict between needs and wants.

Lesson 2 - Your Relationship with Money

Students will use their prior knowledge of the Elements of Dance: relationship to examine social bias around the role and perception of money. Students will use dance as a vehicle to demonstrate an appreciation for money and challenge how money is viewed by various socio-economic classes.

Lesson 3 - Giving and Receiving

Students will use their prior knowledge of the Element of Dance: body & shape to examine the role and function of charitable organizations. Students will use dance as a vehicle to express empathy around the issue of hunger and charity.