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Third Grade Kids in Business Teaches a Foundational Understanding of Economic Principles

An enduring tradition for third-grade students is the annual Kids in Business marketplace, a culminating entrepreneurial project for their unit on economics. 

Students design and create a product, and then sell it to parents and other community members. Outside of the purchasing of materials, with a budget topped at $20, the entire process takes place in school and is fully directed by the students.

They begin by identifying a problem in need of a solution and brainstorming a product that solves that problem. Students then spend time in the Lower School Design Lab to build their projects and create marketing material. Sometimes the envisioned products don’t work out as planned, and students learn how to adapt and persevere with guidance from Design Lab teachers Courtney Chambers and Tim Moxley. Just a few of the creative ideas this year included stress balls, magnetic bookmarks, a joke book, dog paw cleaners, and shoe guards.

Design Lab

The culmination of this work occurred on March 6, when parents, grandparents, teachers, siblings, and even some Upper Schoolers visited the third-grade classrooms to buy the products created by the students. The excitement for the event was palpable as people lined up outside the classrooms before the sale began. Once the doors opened, the students began selling their wares—accompanied by sales pitches, product demonstrations, and creative displays. The hard work pays off when the students’ wares sell out and they count their profits. Through the process, they learn basic economics, problem-solving, and persuasive speaking/writing, as well as real-world math.

Kids in Business

Head of Lower School Bill Mulcahy reflects, "As wonderful as it is to see our children’s joy and pride in developing their products and selling them, it is equally great to see how the unit creates foundational understandings of economic principles that our students carry with them as they get older.”

Kids in Business Slide Show