Each spring, Lower Elementary students combine Math, Social Studies and ELA units to build businesses. They learn about needs/wants, supply/demand, services/goods and more. Their job? Work with a team, come up with a logos (logo, name and all), identify which goods you will sell, actually make the goods, and open up your store.

Teams work on making products.

This process takes about a month, using a few afternoons a week. A primary goal for all lessons at TKG Academy is to implement our core principles through our lessons. Fostering intrinsic motivation, creating an environment of total absorption, allowing students to collaborate, problem solve and show initiative – every single one of these principles literally comes alive.

Having taught at the school for over 15 years now, this store unit and project based learning approach is literally my happy place. Young kids who might have struggled to add a few amounts together, and subtract them from a larger amount – those difficult Singapore Math word problems – do it automatically when selling a few items and needing to give change back!  Students who don’t like to practice their handwriting suddenly write and rewrite and write again for the sign. Students who are shy animatedly discuss during decision making collaborative sessions. Above all that, *every single child* is completely engrossed – engaged in a common purpose.

When they started setting up, all us teachers were hands off. They carried tables, chairs, oriented who was going to go where. My goal is to completely empower them to do every single detail. If there are problems, they discuss it, negotiate it, and figure out the solution. It’s so important that we adults not step in – but allow their thinking minds to work together.

Each ‘customer’ is given $15 of play money. Even parents stopped by! From the 3’s to the teens, every student fills their arms with home-made paper delights. We had daggers, paper airplanes, origame creations, art pieces, books, necklaces and other jewelry, and more! The marketplace was full of buying, selling negotiating.  Even the youngest (age 3!) had play money in their hands and were figuring out how much they would give and get back.

Here’s more pics.