Hundreds of small-business owners came to the Museum of Aviation on Thursday to sell their wares.
The Houston County school system had its largest ever Market Day, in which third-graders from 20 elementary schools simulated the global economy.
Students at each school developed their own mini societies, complete with businesses producing products and services, exchanged with their own currency.
Hannah Davis and Alivia Dwight of Quail Run Elementary were having a blast peddling various crafts they had made. Their currency is the “cha-ching.” The customers were mostly parents who came in and exchanged real money for market place currency.
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“It’s a lot of fun selling stuff,” Hannah said.
Krista Scarborough was among the parents checking out the goods.
“I love it,” she said of the bazaar. “I think it’s great for the kids to understand what happens in the world.”
Jan Jacobsen, the school system’s director of gifted education, said Market Day originally was just for students in the gifted program but now is open to all third-graders. This year’s event featured a record 962 students, with two sessions of the bazaar because there were too many to have it all at once.
There are paying jobs in each school’s mini-economy, including treasurer. Students apply for the jobs and interview, and if they don’t show up for school they don’t get paid that day.
Beverly Kile, third-grade teacher at Quail Run, said students who participate learn words such as scarcity, currency and entrepreneur. She had one student who encountered one of those words on a language quiz in another class and was so excited he sent her a picture of it.
“They know all of that vocabulary,” she said. “It’s a part of them now. They will never forget this.”
Students also learn that to make money, you have to spend money. Lucy Foreman of Quail Run has done ballet since she was 3 years old, so she thought she could sell ballet lessons. She needed a mobile ballet barre, and since no one gives you things when you start a business, she paid her dad a few cha-chings to build her one. Any help students got from their parents, they had to pay them.
Students could form a business of their own or form partnerships.
Abigail Milby, Lynzi Edwards and Sojourner Canady of Langston Road Elementary were providing nail polishing.
“I’ve learned to work with my friends, to get along, the use money wisely and to have fun,” Abigail said.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.