Many people might look at this story through a civics lens. The civics concept of citizenship can be elevated to understand how citizens work together to bring important change to communities.
I want to take a different spin on this story, because people sometimes struggle to see that economic thinking is not just about money. Economic thinking can be applied to any situation where a decision is made. In this story, the kids choose to spend at least eight hours fixing a bike. As an incentive, students are given a refurbished bike at the end of their volunteer work.
When we apply the concepts of scarcity - cost and choice - and opportunity cost, economic thinking might look like this.
- I don't have enough time in my day to do everything that I want to do. In this situation, my time is scarce.
- I can choose to use my eight hours in different ways. I could watch tv, read a book, play with friends, sleep, play with the dog, sit around and be a bum, ..... every other option is a choice.
- If I choose to use my eight hours volunteering to fix bicycles, there are costs. My choice would mean that "during these eight hours" I cannot watch tv, I cannot read a book, I cannot play with friends, I cannot play with the dog, and I cannot sit around and be a bum....all of these things are costs given up because of my decision to use my time this way.
- When I look at all of the other things that I could have done with my eight hours, the one that is most difficult for me to give up is playing with my friends. More than anything, I LOVE to play with my friends. For this reason, playing with my friends is my opportunity cost.