"How Much Land Does a Man Need?" It is an eloquent story that can help teens understand the obsession and destruction of greed. And of course, for us adults, the Oliver Stone 1987 movie Wall Street character Gordon Gecko played by Michael Douglas brought greed to the big screen and in an image that updates Tolstoy's farmer.
Another story "The Fisherman and His Wife" by the Brothers Grimm is excellent for teaching greed to younger children.
It's always a good question to ask ourselves, as educators, what children are able to take on when it comes to big ideas. You show, as many of us come to discover, not only that our students relish the opportunity to discuss these complex issues, but that they bring very astute observations, questions, and arguments to the table. Their world is not black and white, and neither should the discussion we offer them be black and white.
This NYTimes article discusses the curriculum that a Mt. Holyoke professor has developed for young children, using children's literature to generate discussions about philosophy. I'm sure you've already seen it!
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