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June 24, 2009 > Cabrillo second graders learn commerce and life skills

Cabrillo second graders learn commerce and life skills

By Judy Cuturrufo
Photos By Judy Cuturrufo

While economics is considered part of the elementary social studies curriculum, textbooks and other social studies programs often neglect to incorporate economic instruction. Thanks to a $500 grant from California Table Grape Commission, the second grade classroom store at Cabrillo Elementary School was able to fill this void.

Students chose what goods to create and sell in the class store. They determined an appropriate price based on the amount of money classmates were willing to pay. Students also marketed their products by creating a store catalog and made posters to put around the school.

During this project, students earned (pretend) money for performing each aspect of the business, including production, marketing, advertisement and sales. The banker paid the students for their work at the end of each week.

On May 29, the second grade store opened at lunchtime. Students set up their tables and were ready. As other students arrived and started purchasing items, the second graders became excited. After ten minutes the fish key chains were sold out and 30 minutes later all items had been sold. The students were so proud that when they got back to the classroom, that was all they could talk about. Every student contributed to the store and was exposed to each aspect of the basic economic concepts and their individual roles in the economy. The concepts of consumer, producer and service provider came to life for these second graders.

The team of Mrs. Pelayo, Ms. Pagni, and Mrs. Cuturrufo, planned a celebration for the students, with the profit made from their 2nd grade store. The event had several activities such as: crafts, musical chairs, and food that the students had to "pay for" in order to participate. Students were each given $30 (pretend money). They paid $5 for each activity and for food. Another lesson, on money management, was implemented as students had to decide how they were going to best use their money. It was great to see them count their money and tell the volunteers how much change they should receive in return.

At the end of the lesson, students learned diverse economic concepts while participating in an economy that mimics activity in the real world. They learned to become responsible and well-informed consumers who make good decisions and are familiar with typical consumer behavior.

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