Friday, February 14, 2014

Elementary Market Day: A great 'maker' experience

Two  of the really cool events that happen at the elementary school where I teach and the elementary school where my daughter attends are the student-led market days.  The two schools put their own spin on market day, but the premise is the same.

IMG_5017It is a mini maker faire, DIY entrepreneurial experience where students develop, market, and then sell handmade wares to classmates. My daughter used unwanted upholstery samples to create microfiber computer/smart phone screen cleaners and cloth book marks. Other projects kids made included root beer floats, pvc pipe marshmallow shooters, and laser cut metal letters painted in popular university colors glued on a magnet. I have even seen a massage booth and a miniature golf hole complete with volcano.

What an amazing outpouring of creativity was on display in those gymnasiums!

Products have to be pre-approved by staff but created primarily by the students themselves. Each school has students advertise during the days leading up to the big sales day either via poster or promotional spots they deliver live during morning announcements.

At Douglas Elementary, Market Day works as a fundraiser where proceeds go toward the end of the year 5th grade celebration at a local fun spot. Raising money this way gives the kids a stake in the efforts and builds a sense of giving and working toward a shared cause. Items are sold to other kids and nobody ends up with ugly wrapping paper and overpriced cheese logs like the average fund raiser.

At Blue Star Elementary, teachers use Market Day to build meaning around economic concepts like operating costs and profit. Students have to use their own money or seek a loan from family members. All costs have to be detailed and recorded. These students get to keep all of the money from their sales but must re-pay any loans immediately.

Talk about authentic assessment when it comes to whether kids developed and marketed a successful product.

The thing I like most about the Market Day concept is that it lets each kid develop something they enjoy from their own interests and background. These are just a couple of ways to hold Market Day. I am sure with a little more creativity, there are lots of other ways too.

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