Yesterday was the conclusion of the 5th annual craft fair at my school. I actually started this project 7 years ago teaching my Economics class the value of money. Most Economics teachers have their students play the stock market with imaginary money. I decided seven years ago at another school to have students create their own product from scratch, market that product at a craft fair, develop a demand schedule, calculate their equilibrium price using their prototype and excel spreadsheets, and hopefully make a profit at the end of the project. The students calculate the cost of the product and mark up their product to a retail price that should generate a profit in which they get to keep at the end of the day. Students attending Economics class usually earn a profit. Some students fair well, and others not so, depending on their salesmanship, expenditures, quality of their product, consumer interest, pricing, and their use of a short interpretation of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Students attending Economics class usually earn a profit.
At the end of the show, I like to shop the items at the craft fair that the students produced. This year I found many practical items, but the one I was able to put to immediate use at home was a boot rack. It was expensive, but also expensive to make. The student did great work and the boot rack now sits by the front door near the coat hooks. The shoes are no longer a disorganized mess among the front entrance, and it is now easier to clean.
Two years ago, I blended the student craft fair with the local Farmers’ Market. It was great move. The Farmers’ market sets up the craft fair and my students are allowed to participate. The school provides the venue for free, opening its doors to the community. Having the professional and student vendors mixed together brings up the quality of the students’ products. Each year the products from the students get better. The first year, some of the students tried to get the craft fair postponed, even cancelled. Now students before they even sign up for the class have their products already in mind.
Unfortunately, like all class assignments, students choose to either participate or not. Those who don’t give their best always wish they had at the end of the craft fair. There are also some who decide to do the least amount of work possible for a passing grade. Then there are those students who may or may not be scholarly who truly invest their time into their products and make the beginnings of a potential limited liability corporation come to fruition. As a teacher, it is great to see book learning become applicable in a real life setting in which real money exchanges hands and to hear a student say I made my own job and my own money today. I must say I am well-pleased at the students’ productivity at the craft fair yesterday and in the years past.
Thanks students for making this old teacher feel honored in doing their job each day.