Williams realized that they could hold Third Grade Town during the annual open house and art show, allowing parents to use actual money to purchase the kids’ products. The proceeds have been able to cover the costs of the field trip for the past two years.
The project ties directly into the students’ economics unit, allowing them to dive deeper into an understanding of the marketplace. They think of a good or service they can provide, from snacks and paper airplanes to jewelry and face painting, and then they go to market with that product. To advertise their business, students may “purchase” space on the morning announcements or hang fliers in the hallway.
This year’s Third Grade Town was held on March 21, during the open house and art night. Parents and other students used real money to buy tickets, at 50 cents each, and the third-graders were able to keep track of their tickets to see how much money they raised for the field trip. Students are told how much was raised at the end of the evening and are then asked to reflect on what they could do with that money beyond the field trip.
“Kids see stuff they want when they’re at the book fair or at the store with their parents,” said Williams. “After the project, they realize if they work hard, they can make money to buy those things. It’s really rewarding for them to have more control of their choices by doing something like opening a lemonade stand over the summer to make a little cash. The project shows them that they have that kind of freedom.”