Students participate in mini-economies fair

Chesapeake Academy’s third, fourth and fifth grades recently participated in the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Economic Education’s Mini-Economy Market Days at the Siegel Center in Richmond.

“The Mini Economies Fair is an experience-based instructional program used to teach the concepts of entrepreneurship, economics and government in a classroom setting, focusing on economic education, financial literacy, classroom management and real-world market situations. Students establish their own society, design and print their own money, plan and open businesses and create a functioning government,” said VCU Center for Economic Education director Stephen Day

“VCU’s Mini Economies Fair gives Chesapeake Academy students an opportunity to participate in a year-long authentic economic project. We love that it promotes planning, creativity, critical thinking and strong communication skills while learning about the basics of economics,” said fifth-grade teacher Katie Parker.

Market Day is a culminating event which provides students the opportunity to sell the goods and services they have made as part of establishing their own business. Students also get to be buyers using the currency established for the class economy, she said.

“It was exciting to observe over 1,500 students from schools across Virginia proudly displaying their creations on market stands determined to make their business a success. Watching the children make sales, adjust pricing based on demand and showing lots of great team work, it soon became evident that there are many budding entrepreneurs, sales people and marketeers in our Virginia schools. Using my ‘mini bucks’ I was thrilled with my purchases of homemade bath bombs and a rather nice mini ceramic bowl,” said parent Louise Branflick.

Students learned valuable practical strategies for creating and marketing a product from recycled materials that would appeal to other students. Products and displays were all 100% made at school by the students, reported head of school Julianne Duvall Keesee.

Participants benefited from constructive feedback from older students and were able to incorporate positive adjustments to their products and marketing plans prior to Market Days.

Recognizing the importance of economic literacy, Chesapeake Academy has implemented a sequenced economics initiative throughout the grades, said Keesee.

Fifth graders are competing in the Stock Market Game. In addition to the eighth-grade economics course, eighth-graders also participate in a Junior Achievement Program presented by staff from Chesapeake Bank, she said.