Business Savvy CPS Students Participate in ‘Market Madness’

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Kilgour School third grader demonstrates a handmade slingshot for sale at the market.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays – if someone needed to find a gift recently, hopefully they made their way to Market Madness, produced by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, this month.

More than 1,000 elementary school students from across Cincinnati got a taste for what it takes to participate in our fiercely competitive economy – creating products and taking them to market for their peers to “buy” and “sell.”

Students began planning and brainstorming products to market in January. But, there was a catch: they had to create items solely from reused or recycled materials.

Second- through fourth-graders from Hays-Porter School, Hyde Park School, Midway School, Rees E. Price Academy and Kilgour School came fully stocked with stress balls, buttons, terrarium tulips, slime, slingshots, keychains and bracelets.

Midway School students display hand-drawn buttons.

The experiential learning opportunity provides an application of skills the students are learning in their social studies, math and science classes, as well as in each school’s Vision 2020 focus.

Market Madness – different from the typical science fair or craft show – is completely student-led. Students apply for leadership positions, such as president, marketing director, table manager or general worker. While the teams are in the planning and execution phase, students earn money contingent upon their work performed on the project. Each student can spend at the market what they have earned by working, which also is an incentive to not miss any school days. On market day, hundreds of students divide and conquer – half are responsible for campaigning to attendees and buyers to stop by their tables, while the others man the booths, completing transactions and explaining the various items up for sale.

Fourth grader presents a terrarium tulip.

“There’s a little friendly competition among the classes,” said Hyde Park math and science teacher Brett Cassidy. “… but they’re excited to see the other kids’ products, too.”

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