By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Lisa Hess and Wenda Wilson
The library of Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) recently transformed its space into a unique marketplace for fellow first graders to shop multiple second grade student-run businesses. As a part of Project Based Learning (PBL), second grade teachers Lisa Hess and Wenda Wilson’s students became entrepreneurs for a day, incorporating economic terms and ideas into their work. The marketplace was intended for students to sell products they developed and produced collaboratively with their business group.
Last year, these students were the consumers; this year they are the producers. The marketplace experience provides real-world relevance for learning. Hess said students immerse themselves in this unit to allow their unique, creative and resourceful collaboration to shine through. This PBL unit incorporates communication and differentiation by allowing the students a choice in the product they create. Students were challenged to use inquiry and critical thinking while they learned basic economics concepts.
First grade consumers earned marketplace money by demonstrating the tenets of TTE Pack Pride – working hard, being a good friend and taking risks. Calming jars, necklaces, keychains, lava lamps even clay baby Yoda replicas were among the unique second-grade business products available for purchase during marketplace. First graders learned financial literacy through earning money to spend at the marketplace, as well as through budgeting while completing their purchases. Second graders gained experience in business planning, justifying business success, product production and sales. The overall goal was for the second grade students to determine how they would spend their income – on needs like food, water, shelter and clothing or on wants such as video games.
Wilson believes the marketplace event was so meaningful for students because it provided an authentic experience full of economic concepts, as well as collaboration and creativity. Student Evan Bryant said his overall experience with marketplace was awesome because his team worked together, listened to each other and just had fun. The huge success of the marketplace was due to students working hard and the supportive families who provided the necessary materials for the products.