As a kid I never realized that economics could be…well…fun! It seemed like such a boring unit that we trudged through, read about in a textbook that was dusted off each time we pulled it off the shelf (with lovely old graphics might I add), and then tested on. It wasn’t until I became a teacher that I realized how fun and engaging economics could be for our young, growing learners!
In my excitement, I created an Economics Unit (yes, a whole unit!!) based around the concept of a real world carnival that spans for 14 fun and engaging days! It begins with a simple letter home, explaining to parents what we will be up to. From there, the fun really takes off!
A quick (HA, who am I kidding?!) trip to Walmart or Target to get a roll of tickets is an integral next step to this fun unit. I pass out tickets for engaging in class, positive behavior, helping someone else, and so much more! It is their responsibility to take care of them and keep them safe in their “wallet” AKA: plastic bag which is taped to a leg of their desk. This serves as the monetary unit of our lessons and is a HUGE motivator for kids!
Next I create a packet (from the carnival printables) for each student and I provide them with a thorough carnival schedule as they prepare for the big day! I can also use this free resource to prep them too! I have to recruit some help from the custodial staff (sending a little chocolate their way helps immensely!!) to get tables and extension cords set up.
We have our third grade carnival on the blacktop of our playground. One set of students will set up and run their booths while the other set plays. When time is up (usually a half hour), the groups switch. During this time, students keep track of how many tickets their booth earned, but they do NOT get to use the tickets. It wouldn’t be fair because the group who plays first would never get to use the tickets they earned.
After the carnival is over, we create a class graph on chart paper and discuss why some groups earned more tickets than others. Were there larger prizes? Did they charge more tickets? Was the game/activity in demand? Etc.
Students then take the Economics Test the next day which requires them to use their experience from the carnival and apply the economic concepts they have learned. It is truly a blast and honestly, we are all sad when it is over! I encourage you to give it a go with your kids…I promise they will love it and so will you!
On a completely different note, spring is here and for some of us that means allergies, illness, or appointments. If you find yourself in a bind, you will want to have these Emergency Sub Plans on hand!! The last thing you need to be worried about is creating thorough plans when life throws a curveball your way.
Looking for more? Check out this fun Telling Time Game! It is perfect for state testing review, an emergency sub plan, or just a fun hands-on math activity!
In case you missed it, check out the Step By Step Glow Games blog from earlier this year! Your kids will thank you!
DM me on Instagram @thatteachingspark or tag me in a picture of your classroom economics carnival!
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