Last week, second graders from Mrs. Robbins and Mrs. McDowell’s classes walked down the hallways wearing nametags labeled “Inventory,” “Cashier,” “Sales,” and “Manager.” They set out handmade merchandise on desks and tables, propped up poster boards, and placed pricing list signs on their cash registers. They waited in anticipation to see what customers would think of their items and were relieved when their younger peers showed up with bags of (play) money to exchange for goods. One student sales rep started reciting knock knock jokes to a first grader, and another down the hall held up postcards, enticing the children to come down the hall and spend. The first graders took stock of all that was available to them and started counting the coins in their ziplock bags.
Over the past month, the second graders studied how money moves in the world through spending, earning, and saving. Once students understood the concept of the economy, they worked in small groups to create business models and produce particular inventories (bookmarks, postcards, joke books, math riddles, and bracelets) to stock in their classroom “stores.” Next, students created advertisements and commercials using iMovie to market their businesses. The commercials were broadcast to the school via Bayou St. James, and the advertisements were put on display in their stores.
Students also practiced certain jobs within their business. For instance, the cashier worked with money and made change in the marketplace. The manager worked with others to problem solve real world situations. The sales person worked on intrapersonal skills and helped market their product.
As a culminating assignment, the second graders hosted a Marketplace and invited their first grade and kindergarten friends to shop. The second grade students enjoyed having the younger grade levels come spend their (play) money. Not only did the younger grades have to make wise economic decisions, they also had to accurately count money. Second graders practiced all they had learned–that attitude in a group setting can affect your sales, that marketing and advertising matters, that money and number sense can make or break your business, and that having a positive work ethic will make your business desirable.
Teacher Jade McDowell commented, “Overall, this project-based study is meaningful to each student involved. Not only does it create lasting memories, it incorporates cross-curricular studies in a fun way. We are so proud of our students and all their hard work!”
While some students purchased beaded bracelets instead of math riddles, Marketplace items of all types sold, and most importantly, all students learned what it means to sell and to buy through this authentic learning experience.