Grade 4 students engaged in a real-world application of what they had learned about economics.
Market Day is the popular annual event where Grade 4 students operate a business they have planned and designed. It caps off a unit of inquiry where they learn the basics of economics – supply, demand, profit and loss, as well as the social responsibilities between suppliers and consumers. Market Day brings relevance to those studies by giving a taste of what it is like to operate a business. Which is why on Thursday morning, ICS’s Main Hall was transformed into an energetic marketplace filled with students selling their wares and the ICS community (other classes, parents and teachers) eager to purchase the offerings.
Market Day is a student-led event. Teams of three students collaborate to develop a business plan. They do market research, source materials, and calculate expenses and revenues. They estimate how much of their product they can produce, and how much they can sell in the one-hour sales window. They all hope to make a profit, which will be used to support a student in ICS’s partner school, Shree Mangal Dvip in Nepal.
The young entrepreneurs chose a variety of products to offer: hand-crafted toys, homemade treats, and games of skill and chance. As part of a school-wide movement towards sustainability, students also considered the environmental impact of their business. One group used only bio ingredients in their baked goods. They explained, “It’s better for the environment because it doesn’t use chemicals.” Other businesses provided hot chocolate and milkshakes in reusable mugs. “Disposable cups are wasteful and make more trash. We just have to wash these and we can use them again,” they reported. They also realised that not purchasing disposable cups meant their expenses would be less because they could borrow the reusable cups from the ICS kitchen.
Students also received a lesson in scarcity. As some booths sold out of their wares, demand became very high at other booths. Other groups who had excess inventory toward the end of the hour adapted their sales strategies by lowering prices and trying new advertising tactics (ie circulating through the room and actively approaching buyers).
The end of the hour saw almost all of the booths sold out of their inventory. Students eagerly dove into the next tasks – clean up, counting money, calculating profits, and reflecting on what they had learned during the event and how it tied into the entire unit of inquiry.