This May, third grade students at Black Rock Elementary have been learning important business skills through this year’s iteration of their Mini-Society program. This year’s Mini-Society, the Mini Makers, is teaching students many economic concepts and immersing them in a school-wide marketplace.
“They are learning all sorts of facets of economics – wants/needs, supply and demand, consumer/producer, and profit/loss,” says Black Rock Elementary third grade teacher, Heidi Crampsey. “Students also showcase their creativity and practice teamwork through designing, marketing, and selling products.”
Currency in the Mini Makers society consists of $1, $5, $10, $20, and $50 bills that feature the Mini Makers logo. Students throughout the school earn or lose money based on completing their daily jobs and their other actions and choices throughout the day.
The students came up with the Mini Makers society name as a group, then created and voted on a flag to represent their group. Students designed and made their products at home, before bringing in a sample of their product to receive feedback from their peers. After going through the market survey process and incorporating feedback, students produced samples of their product to sell. One student made bouncy balls at home to sell at Market Day.
“I built more than 80 bouncy balls at home,” says third grade Black Rock Elementary student TJ Evans. “It was super fun and I made $2,500!”
In the buildup to Market Day, which ran from May 9-13, the third graders advertised their products throughout the school, building excitement for the other grades. The students also practiced their math and entrepreneurial skills as they accounted for living expenses, added up their weekly earnings, purchased advertisements, applied for a business license, and rented a space in the classroom to sell their products.
“The kids had so much fun making their products and selling them,” says Black Rock Elementary Principal, Sherry Carter. “There was some jewelry, origami, a lot of stress balls, a little wooden ring toss game, a dice-rolling game, and little airplanes and cars.”
All these experiences give students real-world insight into what it takes to own a business.
“They have a list of daily jobs they must do, then fill out their job chart,” says Crampsey. “They have to learn to count their money, and on selling days they must know how to make change for their customers. Students also have learned how to advertise and be persuasive to convince other students to come to their ‘store’ and purchase goods.”
“Students come into third grade looking forward to Mini-Society from the day school starts,” says Crampsey. “It’s definitely a highlight!”