Rows of toys, games and books decorated the desks of second-graders at Dows Lane Elementary School on Nov. 3 while the young shoppers browsed the abundant selection. They exchanged coins and dollar bills as they bought and sold items to their classmates. While the students weren’t using real money, they were gaining real-life experiences about money and economics.
The school store is a monthly curriculum-related activity for all second-graders that teaches them about addition and subtraction, as well as cash exchanges and sales. Each student is given a set amount of money at the beginning of the school year and asked to bring in items they’d like to sell to their classmates for up to $1. As part of the experience, they’re learning the value of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, as well as how to make change to a dollar and subtract from 100.
“There are a lot of real-life applications to store and the students have fun learning them,” teacher Alyssa Fisher said. “They’ll understand the value of money, how to create combinations of money. We also teach them economics – once they sell something, it’s gone. The students also learn about supply and demand and how to price items, change prices and modify things.”
Students said they liked being able to sell items they no longer needed so they could buy new things. Second-grader Zachary Krady said his favorite part was seeing his friends buy raffle tickets for a high-bouncing ball, which he was auctioning off.
“I learned how to count the dimes and pennies,” said second-grader Ava Manuel, who needed to make change to buy a raffle ticket for a fidget spinner. “I needed 10 dimes to get to a dollar.”
At the end of the year, the students will invite first-graders to their classrooms to experience store and show them what they get to experience next year.
“From the moment second-graders arrive at school on the first Friday of every month, you cannot deny the excitement for math that school store generates,” Principal Deb Mariniello said. “This is what learning is all about.”