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Liberty Economics Fair Teaches Business Principles

May 08, 2015 09:28PM ● Published by Julie Slama

Sixth-graders Avery Anderson and Jacey Hillstead sell some of their hand-painted shells to a third-grader at Liberty’s economics fair.

It’s more than a lesson about supply and demand. The sixth-grade Liberty economics fair introduces business principles from advertising to price mixing, and real-life issues from boycotts and strikes to depression and recession.

However, it also is mixed with fun as 60 sixth graders create their own products and partner with 46 third-grade students, who on April 10 purchased the goods with the Liberty dollars they earned through good citizenship and homework.

Sixth graders Kylee Fowlks and Megan Giles created Flubber, using white glue and borax. 

Paige Ansted sold out of “Party in a Bag,” a Ziploc bag which had combinations of mini piñatas, noisemakers, candy and confetti, which she thought would attract buyers who were looking for something “unique, colorful and bright and didn’t want to wait until their birthday to have a party.”

Makenzie Dyson and Jaylynn Huynh sold pencil buddies and pet rocks.

“I learned how a business and free enterprise works,” Makenzie said.

Jaylynn added, “And how to start a business.”

The assignment quickly took off when some sixth graders began polling younger students asking what they would be interested in purchasing and for what price. Others designed their items and then scheduled a time to go to a third-grade class to present their product, pitching a reason why they should purchase it, and even handing them a coupon.

“They were learning about advertising and marketing, surveying what items would sell, and getting endorsements for their products,” said sixth-grade teacher Judy Mahoskey, who added that the fair has been a favorite event at the school for the past 30 years. “My students knew they could only spend $5 to make their products, so they had to make some tough decisions about what their product line would be before they learned about customer service.”

Third graders learned about being a consumer and about goods versus services, saving money, purchasing products, bartering and knowing the value of money, third-grade teacher Colette Parry said.

Third-grader Annie Knott found some hand-painted shells created by Avery Anderson and Jacey Hillstead. She picked them because “they’re pretty.”

The two sixth graders had painted shells found on the shores of Lake Powell and marketed them as “sea shell graffiti.” They also had matching homemade shirts for their business.

The two created a business partnership with Allie Jensen and handed out fliers, promoting her hair clip business.

“We thought it would be good to pass out fliers and coupons for each other’s business and it seemed to work,” Allie said. 

Allie’s hair clips started with some buttons from some crafts her mother had.

“I worried about the boys not buying anything, but then I thought if I gift packaged two clips together, they might buy them for someone and that worked, too,” she said.

The top sellers, earning more than $100, were Corin Greenhalgh and Jessica Boulden, who sold 30 stress balls with faces drawn on them and about 50 hand-painted monster friend magnets. 

Part of their business plan was tweaking the usual products into something creative and distributing $2 off coupons.

“We asked the third graders if they got $2 off, would they be interested in spending money on these products and they said they would and that worked,” Corin said.

Her mother, Lyndsey, said that their research from talking to their third-grade brothers, teachers and others beforehand paid off.

“They seemed to gain an understanding of money and that sometimes, it takes money to make money,” she said. “They also seemed to grasp that something unique and fun can capture buyers’ attention.”        
Education, Today

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