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Lu::lRARY

Wishes and Rainbows
Th e following children's story is designed to
teach students (K -6) th e economic co ncept of
"scarcity." The fable describes how a young girl
named Roota and her fellow Pebblepeople must
cope with a scarcity of color in th eir underground town. Follow-up activities are suggested
at the close of the article.

Not long ago, deep in the
ground, between Boulder's Ridge
and Gopher Junction, was the
town of Pebbleton. It was a dark
and dreary little town with buildings made of mud and tree roots
and streets dimly lit by tiny lanterns. The town looked much like
any other town except for one
thing - there was no color. In and
all around the town there was
nothing but black earth, sprinkled
here and there with a few white
stones and brown roots.

The town looked
much like any other
town except for one
thing-there was
no color.
The Pebblepeople who lived in
the underground town were no
more than six inches high, with
black hair and large black eyes.
Like the world they lived in, the
clothes they wore were colorless.
No pretty pink blouses, navy blue
pants or sunshine yellow scarves
could be seen in Pebbleton . In fact,
everyone in the town wore the
exact same thing - white shirts,
black shorts, grey ties and black
and white striped suspenders.

But the Pebblepeople were not
happy in their little world of no
color. For centuries, they had
heard stories of the legendary
"Colorland," and they longed to
look upon the blues, reds and yellows they had heard so much
about.

Sitting up and rubbing her
eyes, Roota looked around in
amazement. All about her was
color. Below her was the emerald
green grass, above her was the
sparkling blue sky, and on either
side was a rainbow of different colored flowers .

Roota was a young Pebbleton
girl, with short straight hair, deep
dark eyes and a turned-up nose.
Like all her Pebbleton neighbors,
she had never known anything
but the colorless world around
her.
Roota lived with her grandmother, a wise old woman with
graying hair and round black spectacles, who often liked to spin a
tale or two. Even as a small child,
Roota had been enchanted with
her grandmother's stories of the
brilliant colors in the world above
them.

"I have found them! I have
found the colors! Oh, they are
more magnificent than I ever
imagined," Roota cried as she
leaped to her feet.

" Even when you are an old
woman like me, you will never see
anything so bright and cheerful as
the colors in the world above," her
grandmother would say. "My
dream is to some day see a tree's
auburn colors or a flower's softly
tinted petals."
Most of the townspeople had
never left Pebbleton for fear of the
big people whom they heard lived
in the colorful world above
ground. But Roota had often ventured as far as Cobblestone Canyon in search of the colors.
One day while Roota was exploring one of the many tunnels
near the Canyon, she noticed a
small bright light ahead of her. As
Roota got closer, the light was so
bright that she could not see, and
she stumbled forward onto what
felt like a soft cushion of long thick
threads.

Roota ran from one flower to
another, looking up at the clear
blueness of the sky, then down at
the rich green grass beneath her
feet . Touching a rosy red flower
petal, Roota knew why all the stories of the colors had been kept
alive for so many years.
"Oh , if only grandmother
could see them," Roota thought to
herself. Then an idea popped into
her head . "Why not? Why
couldn' t the whole town see the
colors?" she thought.
Glancing around her, Roota 's
eyes rested upon a single flower.
No color could describe its beauty.
It was violet, but not really violet;
turquoise, but not really turquoise;
golden, but not really golden.
Quickly, Roota knelt next to the
flower and carefully pushed aside
the earth around it. With one
forceful tug, Roota pulled it from
the ground. Carrying her precious
flower, she walked back to the tunnel's opening and, taking one last
look at the marvelous "Colorland,"
she descended back into the
darkness .
When Roota returned with the
flower, the word quickly spread
throughout the town that the legendary colors had been found.

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Vol. 7, No. 4 - Sept. 1980


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Storekeepers stopped selling,
bakers stopped baking, and children stopped playing. Everyone
rushed to the town square where
Roota was gently planting her rare
and beautiful flower.
Soon Roota's grandmother
could be seen hobbling toward the
crowd that had gathered at the
square. As she came closer, she
stopped suddenly and looked up
at the brilliantly colored flower.
"You have made an old woman
very happy," she said as she
walked over to her granddaughter.
"No longer will the Pebblepeople
be forced to live in a sad and plain
world with no color."
The Pebblepeople cheered, for
they too knew that the colored
flower would bring great happiness to their town. In fact, the
townspeople were so amazed with
the flower's beauty that each and
every one of them wanted a flower
of his or her very own. Roota
knew that they would not be satisfied with the one flower, so she
promised that she would return to
"Colorland" and bring back more
colorful things.
The next day, Roota and her
best friend, a tough but friendly
Pebbleton boy named Rockie ,
started on their journey through
the many tunnels near Cobblestone Canyon. But their trip was
an unhappy one. By the end of the
third day, they still had not found
the opening to "Colorland."
" Are you sure that we are
going the right way?" Rockie
askecf Roota as they pushed aside
a large boulder that was blocking
their path. Roota could only bow
her head in disappointment and
hope that the next turn would
bring them closer to the opening.
For nearly a week they
searched through the tunnels, but
still they could not find the
opening.

above was coming through the
ceiling high over their heads.
"Don't be sad," Rockie said to
Roota, placing his hand in hers .
"Remember, we still have one colored flower."
"But one flower is not
enough," said Roota , her usual
playful grin turning into a frown.
"Everyone in Pebbleton would like
a flower of his or her own."
"We can only hope to search
for the opening another time,"
Rockie replied .
Roota agreed and decided that
the Pebblepeople would have to
enjoy and share the one colored
flower that they had .
But when Roota and Rockie returned to Pebbleton, the town was
once again colorless. The flower
that had once been bright and full
of color was now grey and wilted.
Roota knelt beside the flower.
As a tear rolled down her face, the
flower, too, shed three seed-like
tears. Roota placed the flower's
tears in her hand and looked at the
dreary black and white world
around her.
"The flower's colors will not
stay without the special light from
the world above." Turning, Roota
saw her grandmother standing
next to her. "It is said that a
flower's tears will grow into new
colorful flowers if they have the
special light from the world
above," her grandmother said.
Roota gently tightened her grip
around the flower's tears, gave her
grandmother a hug, and headed
toward the lighted cavern that she
and Rockie had found on their
journey. There she planted the
tears, watering and tending them
from the time the first green
shoots poked through the ground
till the flowers were ready to
bloom.

Finally, just as they had decided to return to Pebbleton, they
noticed a faint light in the distance. Quickly, they ran toward
the light, anxious to see the vast
and wonderful colors in the world
above. But when they reached the
end of the tunnel, their excitement
faded.

Roota's grandmother was right.
By the end of the second week, the
three flower buds had blossomed
into spectacular colors. News of
the three flowers traveled quickly
and soon all the townspeople
crowded around Roota.

The light was not coming from
the opening to "Colorland" but
only from a small cavern. Somehow, the sunlight from the world

"I was here first, so I should get
one of the flowers," another
argued .


2
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"I would like one of the
flowers," one Pebbleperson said.

"I am an important citizen in
this town," the mayor announced,
"so I surely should receive a
flower."
"What am I to do?" Roota
asked her grandmother later that
day. "I have only three flowers, yet
everyone in Pebbleton would like
one of them."
"The people of Pebbleton have
been without color for too many
years," her grandmother replied.
"Now that they have seen its fantastic beauty they will want it more
and more. They will want more
colored flowers than you will ever
be able to grow in the lighted cavern. Only you can decide who will
get a flower and who will not."
Roota knew that her grandmother was right, so she left for
the lighted cavern to decide what
to do. For nearly a week, Roota
stayed near the flowers, pacing
from one end of the cavern to the
other, drawing pictures in the
black dirt and then crossing them
out. Finally she made her
decision , and she returned to
Pebbleton to call the townspeople
together.
"I have made a list," Roota explained as she unrolled a long
scroll. "It begins with the oldest
Pebbleperson and continues right
down to the youngest Pebblebaby. "
Roota crossed out the names of
the top three Pebblepeople and
handed each a flower.
"When the three flowers lose
their colors, we will use their tears
to grow more flowers ," Roota continued. "In time, everyone on the
list will be given a flower of his or
her very own."
Years have passed since Roota
pro m is e d the Pebble people
flowers of their own. Since then, a
second lighted cavern has been
found and the Pebblepeople are
now able to grow twice as many
flowers as before .
Today, the streets of Pebbleton
are lined with flowers of every
imaginable color. But the townspeople are still not content. Many
of them want two, three and even
four flowers of their own, but
Roota cannot grow that many
flowers in only two lighted
caverns. So Roota and Rockie
search each day for the opening to
"Co lorland," hoping that some
day the y will be able to fill
Pe bbleton with more colorful
things .


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So don't be surprised if some
summer day when you're lying on
the green grass and looking at the
blue sky, you hear voices and
footsteps coming from underground . It could be Roota and
Rockie searching for the opening
to "Colorland ."
FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES

• What color is Roota's flower?
Have younger students color the
flower on insert page to serve as
a springboard for the following
activities!
• Discuss some reasons why Roota
wanted to bring the colored
flower back to Pebbleton. Why
did the townspeople want more
and more of the colored flowers?
Is there an unlimited demand for
colored flowers in Pebbleton?
• Give reasons why the
Pebble people were unable to get
all the colored flowers they
wanted . Are colored flowers a
limited resource in Pebbleton?
• Introduce the term "scarcity" to
the students. Use the story to illustrate how there was a scarcity
of color in Pebbleton. Have students draw pictures or list other
instances in which scarcity exists, e.g. two children wanting to
ride one bicycle.
• List the ways in which Roota
tried to handle the problem of
scarcity in Pebbleton, e .g. share,
made a list. What other ways
could Roota have solved the
scarcity problem , e.g . vote?
What role does decision-making
play in solving the problem of
scarcity?

Innovative
Classroom
Following a review of economic
decision-making and scarcity, the
instructor briefed her class on the
day's topic - production. Dividing the class into production
groups, she handed out glue,
tape, scraps of material, scissors,
egg cartons, construction paper
and crayons.
Some might question the use of
such tools to teach economics unless they realize that the class was
actually comprised of 4 and 5 year
olds from the Cyrus E. Dallin
School in Arlington, MA. Involved
last spring in a 10-week program
known as "Kindereconomy," the
Arlington kindergarteners, along
with students (K-2) in several
other area schools, were taught
basic economic principles . Consumption and distribution, money
versus barter, supply and demand, goods and services, production and specialization, opportunity cost, business and scarcity
were the topics introduced to
these "Kindereconomy" classes.
"Kindereconomy" was just one
program sponsored last year by
The National Center of Economic
Education for Children, located at
Lesley College in Cambridge, MA.
Scarcely over a year old (its formation was officially announced May
9, 1979), The National Center is
devoted to the advancement of
economic education for the elementary school level. Guidance
materials, teaching strategies,
training, staff, information and
speakers are services The National
Center provides to achieve its
goals.

In addition to the "Kindereconomy" program, The National Center has also trained and advised
teachers on "Mini-Society," an unstructured, 10-week program in
which students, grades 3 through
6, create their own economic society. Students learn economic
concepts by setting up their own
businesses, designing currency,
creating laws, paying taxes and
making other decisions common
to everyday economic life. Both
"Kindereconomy" and "Mini-Society" were created by Dr. Marilyn
Kourilsky, professor at the UCLA
Graduate School of Education.
In order to promote the development of curricula and material for economics in elementary
schools, The National Center has
set up an annual awards program.
Cash prizes are awarded to winners in three elementary categories: pre-service teacher training,
in-service teacher training and
teaching materials. Awards are
also given to each entrant who
qualifies for an "Award of Distinction" in each division.
The National Center's eightpage publication, The Elementary
Economist©, provides teaching materials on a particular economic
concept and informs educators
about The Center's activities.
Teachers are encouraged to contribute to the publication which
contains articles by their colleagues about successful economics teaching methods for grades
K-6.
For more information about The
National Center's programs and/or
free publications, contact The National Center of Economic Education for Children, Lesley College,
Cambridge, MA 02238.

CONTEST

What do Roota, her friends,
Pebbleton and/or "Colorland"
look like?
The Ledger wants to know
how your students visualize
Wish es and Rainbows. Just have
them draw or paint pictures relating to the story and submit
them by October 27, 1980 to the
Ledger, Federal Reserve Bank of
Boston, Public Services Dept.,
Boston, MA 02106. One drawing will be selected from the entries, and the picture, along
with information about the
artist , will be printed in
November's Ledger.

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Courtesy of Lesley College

3

Mul ti-m edia
October 5-11 has been designated National Consume r Education Week. To help promote consumer awarenes s, the Boston
Federal Reserve Bank recently
published the Consumer Education
Catalog. The catalog describes consumer education materials and
programs which are offered by the
Boston Fed.
Money and Barter, produced
by AIMS Instructi onal Media
Services, Inc.
In colorful cartoon form, these
four filmstrips present the mechanics of money and barter. The
filmstrips include - (1) introduction, (2) basic banking services,
(3) use of credit cards, (4) currency
- plus accompan ying records and
a teacher's manual. (Appropr iate
for elementar y school students.)

New Eng land
Update
MAINE
The Maine Council on
Economic Education is planning
two follow-up economic education
workshop s for the fall semester.
Tentativ ely schedul ed for
Novembe r and Decembe r, the
workshop s are open to all teachers, including those who did not
attend the Council' s summer
workshop s.
The Council is also planning a
15-week economi c educatio n
course in Portland, ME . Part of the
Developm ental Economic Education Program (DEEP), the course is
tentativel y scheduled to start in
October and is open to all secondary teachers. For more informatio n
on the Council's activities, contact
Robert Mitchell, 22 Coburn Hall,
Universit y of Maine, Orono, ME
04473; (207) 581-7069.
MASSACHUSETTS
School systems interested in
worksho ps or courses offered
through the Center for Economic
Educatio n at Boston Universi ty
should write to Anton Lahnston ,
School of Educatio n , 765 Commonweal th Ave ., Boston, MA
02215; or call (617) 353-3201.

~oject, can now be copied for ind1v1d ual classroom use. Entitled
Econ Trek, the half-hour programs
are shown on Vermont's educational television station four times
a year and include topics ranging
from "Blue Collar Capitalism " to
"Wood Energy." Those interested
in making copies of Econ Trek, or of
the Trade-offs or Common Cents series, should send a blank videotape and $4.50 per program to
the Media Library, Universit y of
Vermont, Burlington , VT 05405.

FED Update
□

From October 18 to 26, over 500
Boston area artists will open their
studios to visitors as part of "Artweek Boston 1980." Free maps locating each artist's studio and
listing related programs sponsored
by museums , arts institution s and
groups will be available at the
Boston Fed from October 15
through October 22.
D A new series of lunchtim e

concerts will be held at the Boston
Fed this fall. The free concerts will
take place in the Bank's auditorium
on Thursday s at 12:30 p. m. For
more informati on , contact Kathy
Toussaint, Public Services, Federal
Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston,
MA 02106; (617) 973-3368.
D

RHODE ISLAND

Land, Labor and Capital, produced by Oxford Films.
This IO-minute film discusses
the three basic componen ts of any
economy: land, labor and capital.
Each factor of productio n is shown
to be equally important to the developmen t of an economy . (Appropriate for junior high and
elementar y school groups.)

. Th ~ above free publicati on f
filmstrips are available ln; writing to
the Bank and Public Information Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston,
Boston, MA 02106; or by calling (617)
973 ~3459. The filmstrip can be
obtained on a free loan basis.
4

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A puppet show presented by
the Center for Economic Education at Rhode Island College is
now available to all Rhode Island
schools. Illustrating the economic
concept of "choice," the puppet
show involves a 5th grade child,
who receives $20 for her birthday,
and her adventure s with Mr. Dollars and Mr. Sense. The 30-minute
show is appropria te for 4th, 5th
and 6th grade classes and is available free of charge. For more information , write to Agnes Johnson ,
Rhode Island College Center for
Economic Education , Room 200,
Alger Hall; or call (401) 456-8036.

VERMONT
T~n vi~eotap ed program s,
dealing with Vermont's economy
and produced by Econ Trek Vermont Economi c Educatio n

the

LEDGER
Editor: Debra Carpenter-Beck
Graphics Arts Designer: Ernie Norville

This newsletter is published periodically as a
public seroice by the Federal Reserve Bank of
Boston. The reporting of news about economic education program s and materials
should not be construed as a specific endorsement by the Bank. Further, the material contained herein does not necessarily reflect the
views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
or the Board of Govenzors . Copies of this
newsletter and a catalogue of other educational materials and research publications ,
may be obtained free of charge by writing:
Bank and Public Information Center, Federal
Reserve Bank of Boston , Boston , MA 02106,
or by calling: (61 7) 973-3459.