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Enrich 3rd-6th Math & Economics with Market Day

Updated: Apr 20

If you are looking for a way to extend and enrich math and economics learning… Market Day is it! I am a huge advocate for project-based learning because it provides opportunities for students to actively engage in the learning process with real-life applications and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. In addition, students LOVE these projects, and it makes their education more meaningful and memorable. This is one of those projects that will be at the top of the “Student Favorites” list!

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What is Market Day?

Market Day is a hands-on, project-based learning (PBL) activity that integrates math, economics, and innovation. Students develop a business plan for a shop that sells goods, services, or both. They set up an actual small shop where they will market and sell their products and services to their classmates on Market Day. In addition, they will determine pricing and marketing strategies that will help their shop be successful. They will also play the role of consumers as they shop in their peer’s shops using classroom currency.

If you would like a ready-to-go guide, student workbook, and teaching slides, grab those here: Complete Market Day Resource

How to Implement Market Day in 10 Steps:

1. Background Knowledge

Build background knowledge about the following topics, so that students can apply their learning to their project. Note: This project is an extension activity, and should be done after students have foundational knowledge about the subject matter. 

-Economics: Consumers, Producers, Supply & Demand, Goods, Services, Natural Resources, Human Resources, Capital Resources, Exports, Imports

-Mathematics: Multiplication, Division, Percentages, Fractions

Provide a variety of resources for students to learn about these topics (textbooks, library books, Epic Books, Social Studies Weekly, Newsela, Brainpop Jr., Scholastic, etc.)

💡TIP: If you give students a short preview of the Market Day project at the beginning of a math or economics unit, you will get major student buy-in to work hard and apply themselves during the unit, so that they are prepared for Market Day!

2. Engage

About two weeks before the project, engage students by showing videos, photos, and articles of real-life entrepreneurs of all ages. Discuss the traits and patterns that make these entrepreneurs successful. Explain the Market Day project, and the learning objective. Show students examples of the product ideas, service ideas, and shop setups. I have this prepared in a Google Slide presentation, which is included in my Complete Market Day resource.

3. Brainstorm

Brainstorm Market Day ideas together as a class, and create a mind map or notes to save ideas. Here are some things for students to consider:

  1. Will they create goods (products), offer services, or both?

  2. How will they price their goods and services?

  3. What benefits do their products provide to consumers?

  4. Will they offer deals, promotions, or sales?

  5. How will they design their menu?

  6. How will they market their store? (Commercial, Advertisement, Song, etc.)

  7. What materials and resources will they need?

4. Partners

Assign each student a partner to work with, or let them choose a partner. Two students will share one shop space, and they will need a partner to run their store while they are shopping. I give students 3 options when working with their partner:

  • Each partner works independently and has their own shop and menu. 

  • Partners work together, but they have their own shop, menu, and pricing. 

  • Partners work together with one shop, one menu, and share all the profit.

5. Business Plan

Have each student complete a Market Day business plan at least one week before Market Day, even if they are collaborating with a partner. I have a pre-made business plan template in my Complete Market Day resource. Here are some things to include in the business plan:

  1. Shop Name

  2. Shop Logo

  3. Shop Owner(s)

  4. List of goods and services

  5. Prices of all items

  6. Materials/Resources needed

  7. Marketing Plan

6. Production

After students have their plan, allow them to start working on their products in class. I provide basic materials (construction paper, markers, glue, scissors, tape, colored pencils, etc.), and allow them to bring in additional materials from home (I do not allow slime, food products, or anything that is not handmade).

Here’s a FREE Informational Family Letter and Product/Service Idea Sheet (both editable) that you can send home with students. 

I recommend at least three blocks of 30-45 minutes over the course of 5-7 days for students to work on their products.

7. Marketing & Pricing

A few days before Market Day, students should also be creating a menu to display in their shops with a list of all their items and prices. Here are some additional things they could create:

  1. Shop Logo

  2. Shop Sign

  3. Promotional Advertisement

  4. Video Commercial

  5. Digital Slide “billboard”

  6. Song/Rap/Jingle

8. Promote & Share

Decide how you want students to share their marketing (commercials, ads, etc.) with the class. I have students record or post their marketing on a platform like Flipgrid or Seesaw, and we play them for the class on a large screen. You could also give students access to these on their personal devices to watch at a time that is convenient. I recommend doing this 1-2 days before Market Day.

9. Class Currency

1-2 days before Market Day is also a good time to distribute the Market Day Currency. Students will need some cash to start with for shopping and making change for customers. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Print and copy sheets of $1 “Market Day” bills in a particular color (green, yellow, blue, etc.)

  • Print and copy sheets of $5 “Market Day” bills in a particular color (green, yellow, blue, etc.)

  • Cut out the bills, and give each student two 5 dollar bills and ten 1 dollar bills ($20 total). 

  • Provide a zip lock bag, or small pouch with their name on it  to store their cash. 

  • Each student will also need a small plastic cup or container to keep by their shop. This will be used to collect any payments they receive from selling items while they are out shopping. 

  • Keep some extra cash on hand as students might need it for change.

9. Day of Market Day

I recommend scheduling this for the first part of the day. If you have a big space such as a Multi-purpose room or gym, that works well, but you can easily set this up in a classroom as well. Students will come in and set up their shop, menu, and products. Here are some materials that work well for the shop setup:

💡TIP: After setup, this is a good time to take any photos or videos before the actual shopping begins! You could also go around and score/grade shops at this time. I have a Scoring Sheet template provided in the Complete Market Day resource

Students will need to decide who will shop first, and who will run the shop first. Remind them that there are benefits to both options, as shoppers get first pick at products, but shop owners will be able to make more money before their first shopping trip. Provide a shopping bag or reusable bag for students to store their purchased items. 

The first Market Day session will be five minutes, and then students will switch places with their partner to start the next five-minute session. I recommend having a large timer on display during each session, and an attention-getting sound when it is time to switch. I also like playing upbeat instrumental music softly in the background to add to the experience. 

Students will switch at least two more times, so that each person gets two times to shop. Depending on time and the amount of products remaining, you could add more rounds as needed. After the first couple rounds, I encourage students to consider putting items on sale, or doing “BOGO” offers. 

After the final session, students will put away their shop, clean up their area, and store their shopping bags full of purchased items. Have the students complete a reflection about their experience, and incorporate this into a whole-class discussion. Review the learning objectives, and outcomes. 

Ready to bring Market Day to your students?

After running this project numerous times, I’ve figured out templates, resources, and teaching materials that help run Market Day smoothly. I put all of these together in a Complete Market Day resource that will save you a lot of time and energy! Here’s what’s included:

  • Student Workbook Pages

  • Step-by-Step Teacher Guide

  • Brainstorming Graphic Organizers

  • Market Day Score Sheet

  • Marketing Templates

  • Family Letter

  • Vocabulary Page & Posters

  • Teaching Presentation Slides

  • Focus Wall/ Bulletin Materials

  • Enrichment Materials

  • Digital Teaching Slides

  • Photo Examples... AND MORE!

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