Students lead marketplace to learn about economics

Students lead marketplace to learn about economics
Posted on 05/28/2024
Wohlwend's first-grade marketplaceThe Wohlwend Elementary School Marketplace was open for business in May! First-grade students learned about economics by creating goods and selling them to kindergarten student shoppers. Through the cross-curricular project, students learned about goods, services, producers and consumers. They also displayed their knowledge of addition strategies and soft skills learned throughout the school year.

Teachers introduced the marketplace project by showing students a video of a transaction at a lemonade stand. Students were asked to develop a list of questions they had after watching the video, and their teachers used that list to guide students’ learning throughout the unit. 

Students then brainstormed which items they would sell at their own marketplace and worked as a class to produce the items. 

“I like that they had the student choice,” said Suzanne Schmidt, a first-grade teacher. “They had ownership in making their products because they got to choose what items to make and how to make them.”

Wohlwend goods creation
Image: Evelyn, a Wohlwend Elementary School first-grade student, creates a purse to sell at the marketplace.

Students created capes, purses, bracelets, pet seashells and more. On the day of the marketplace, kindergarten students were given 10 paper dollars. They visited booths and selected items for purchase. At checkout, students demonstrated their mastery of math skills they learned during the school year.

“I was working the cash register,” said Harper, a first-grade student. “I was counting by ones and taking money so people could buy things.”

While Harper was counting by ones, other students working the cash register used different addition strategies. Some used a number line, and some used a dry erase board to keep track of item costs. Students at individual booths had to use math, too.

Wohlwend cash register
Image: A first-grade student uses a marker board to add the to calculate the total cost of kindergarten students' goods.

Kindergarten students also used their math skills. They practiced addition and subtraction to calculate how much they spent and how much money they had remaining. 

The marketplace project aligns directly with Mehlville School District’s social studies curriculum, which calls for first-grade students to learn about production and consumption, as well as goods and services. It also aligns with the addition and subtraction in first-grade math curriculum. 

Additionally, students learned soft skills through the project that translate to everyday life. Some students in each class ran a welcome table to greet kindergarteners as they entered the classroom and answer their questions. Students also learned the importance of good customer service. 

Wohlwend marketplace goods
Image: A first-grade student discusses the cost of an item with a kindergarten student.

“We know how to be good workers, making sure they’re safe and having a good time shopping,” said Alen, a first-grade student. 

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].