Simon Kenton Elementary sixth grade students Kylee Wilson and Mandy Henry create items based on the popular video game, “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” to sell at a Market Day event on Tuesday. Photo by Brett Turner

Springfield students learn to become entrepreneurs

The Market Day menu at Simon Kenton Elementary School will include everything from Sno-cones to slime, origami ninja stars to “stoof.”

Those items are among the creations the school’s sixth graders dreamed up, created, marketed and will sell to third through fifth grade students and parents during their third such Market Day on Tuesday, March 20, in the school cafeteria.

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Market Day is the end game of a five-week Problem-Based Learning program designed to give the students an overview of how to produce and sell goods.

“The kids really look forward to it,” said social studies teacher Connie Jensen, who collaborated with English teacher Jonelle Newman to teach the budding entrepreneurs such business basics as supply and demand and the theory of economics.

While you won’t find “stoof” in any of the school’s educational materials, Bridget Layne, who is partnering with Ysabelle Glancy to create, is glad to explain.

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“We both like art and both decided on the name and wanted to spell it wrong,” Layne said.

Among their “weird things” — as the girls’ marketing copy says — are foam letters, bracelets and things that go onto gift boxes, complete with inscriptions. The misspelling was to draw attention.

“We like being able to make stuff,” said Layne.

What the girls aren’t looking forward to is meeting the public to sell their goods, saying they’re a bit nervous. But that’s also part of the lesson.

The project included finding the cost of producing the items and then also doing the advertising. They had to create their own posters and 15-30 second commercials.

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Jensen said in just the third year of this program, technology is the biggest change with how things are done, such as using iMovies for the commercials.

Mandy Henry and Kylee Wilson found the hardest part was coming up with what product to choose.

They turned to the popular video game, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” for inspiration, with balloons for $2, regular drawings for $1 and upgraded oil pastel drawings for $3. They’ll even customize the popular youth product slime with colors from the game.

Time management was Henry’s biggest takeaway, she said.

Newman’s lessons included having the students do a business plan and understand common vocabulary words like consumers, having the students explain what their product is, what resources are needed, the production costs and finding out who wants to buy their goods.

“We worked well together, integrating the social studies and language arts,” she said. “The kids have done multi-paragraph essays like a CSI lab and an invention convention to come up with a patent this year and we can see how they’ve grown.”

They’ve tweaked a lot since the program’s beginning. Newman confesses she likes the food items best.

“I like interacting. It’s nice when the whole school comes in,” Newman said. “When they make the food, it’s neat to see the creations.”

Funds earned from Market Day sales will allow students to purchase a variety of goods donated by staff members.

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