Grade K-2, 3-5

Teach Opportunity Cost with “Uncle Jed’s Barbershop”

Time: 45 - 60 mins,
Updated: April 18 2024,
Author: Andrew Hill


Students will be able to:

  • Define opportunity cost,
  • Identify the opportunity cost of a decision given two or more alternatives,
  • Define saving and savings goal,
  • Identify a savings goal
  • Explain that people must make spending and saving choices to meet goals.


Students listen to the book Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, about an African American barber who, despite significant setbacks, saves enough money to buy his own barbershop. From the story, students learn about saving, savings goals, opportunity cost, and segregation. The students participate in a card game to further investigate what it takes to reach a savings goal.


We would like to thank the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for allowing us to link to this lesson.   Download the pdf or access  an interactive whiteboard (SMART/Notebook or ActivInspire/flipchart) lesson at

Visit Econ Lowdown  TM , the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ website of award-winning free classroom resources for use by pre-K through college educators who teach economics, personal finance, money, banking and the Federal Reserve.