The School Buzz: D11 teacher uses “mini society” project to teach economics to 4th graders

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Colorado requires fourth graders to learn economics. But the way a teacher at Stratton Elementary School leads her students is creating a lot of buzz.

Some parents call it a “mini-society”.

“The kids had to make a lot of economic decisions, figuring out where their money was going. They created a flag,” said Lauri Griffin, a fourth-grade teacher at D11 school.

She says she got the idea for her class’ “mini-society” from the school’s gifted magnet specialist coordinator. The project teaches students about money and the production and consumption of projects, through the creation of their own products.

Griffin’s class requires each student to start their own business where they plan and manufacture their product. There is a focus group to see if the product might work. Then they market it and try to sell it to classmates and parents. They have to be creative because there are parameters regarding how much they can spend on materials and how they are used. They are even taxed.

Doug, one of Griffin’s students, created a portfolio from Capri Sun packages.

“We made a wallet. It is a place where you can hold money of any kind. And then it’s a small purse,” he said.

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