Houston 3rd graders sharpen entrepreneurial skills at Market Day

alopez@macon.comMarch 4, 2014 

  • Gifted and high-achieving Houston County third graders learned about economics and developed products and services to sell at Market Day, which took place at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins. Video by Andres David Lopez

WARNER ROBINS -- About 250 gifted and high-achieving Houston County third graders took over the Museum of Aviation’s Century of Flight Hangar on Tuesday and gained experience as entrepreneurs, selling goods and services they conceptualized in an open marketplace.

Twenty elementary schools participated in the event, called Market Day, and every class created its own currency to conduct trade.

Some students sold paper airplanes, others custom-painted magnetic trinkets or duct tape bows. One class set up a photo booth as well as a screening room, which ran a monster movie shot by students.

“There were a couple of clear-cut entrepreneurs that rose to the top,” said Jan Jacobsen, Houston County’s director of gifted education. “One of them was a little girl who crocheted scarves. She was sold out in five minutes.”

Cathi Selph’s class of 17 students created nine businesses, including selling stress balls and providing nail polishing services. The students received marketing training and developed business cards to give to customers. Taking the marketplace exercise even further than most of the other classes at the event, they developed and posted their own business licenses.

“They think about themselves as consumers,” Selph said. “That’s a brilliant thing for children to think of at such a young age because now they have the information they need to be informed consumers for the rest of their lives.”

Parents who wanted to participate in the market visited the currency exchange where the day’s rate was set at five “market bucks” for $1.

Students from Houston County and Northside high schools helped the elementary school students manage their bazaar.

Houston third-grade teachers attended three days of training with the Georgia Council on Economic Education to pass on ideas to their students. The Georgia Council on Economic Education awarded Houston County its program of excellence award for 2013.

Students learned business ideas like scarcity, allocation and advertising, Jacobsen said.

She said the hands-on nature of the event promoted critical thinking.

“We believe if you engage the learner, achievement will be increased,” she said.

To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 744-4382.

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