Grade 3-5

Teach Producers and Consumers using Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle

Time: 60 mins,
Updated: April 9 2024,


Students will be able to:

  • Listen to a story to see how producers make goods and use their income to buy other goods and services. 
  • Participate in a production activity to experience how producers are also consumers when buying the goods needed to make what they will sell. 
  • Understand the difference between producers and consumers.

There are two 30 minute elementary lesson plans that take students through the process of making a good to sell to a fictional business owner, Mr. Peacock, to earn an income. This income, in the form of play money, can be used in an optional activity to purchase small items and classroom coupons. Producers make and sell the goods and services to satisfy consumers’ wants. To do this, producers must also be consumers who buy the goods and services as resources.

Story Synopsis of Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle

A pair of unlikely friends decide they would like a new tandem bike and begin their pursuit to earn money to purchase one.  Mr. Peacock, the manager of a pickle-packing company, hires them and it does not go well.   Squirrel’s plan to specialize, with him packing the jars and Sloth attaching the labels, backfires. When Mr. Peacock discovers six hundred and seventy-seven pickle jars with upside down labels, he fires them.  Stating he cannot pay them for their work, he gives them the unsellable pickles.   The entrepreneurial friends turn their mistake into a unique business, make a profit, and surpass their goal.