Small Classroom Project

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To develop a short-term, easy-to-implement economics project that would be low-cost in terms of time and money


Consumer; producer; natural, human, and capital resources; saving; spending; costs and benefits; and the ever-present economic principle of making choices.


Not all businesses have to be costly or time intensive. Two years ago my first-grade class studied three readers’ theaters that we performed at a little show. We charged a small admission fee, but there was no up-front financial cost. Our show also featured a photographic art display. In addition, the two weeks that we spent learning our scripts took place during our language arts time and fulfilled the goals of reading fluency, thereby losing no class time.


I took the students, two at a time, around the school with a digital camera. I did this during their recess time. Every student took photos of what they thought was visually interesting in our school. I printed them off on the school’s black and white printer and matted them on black construction paper. I made a photo display outside our classroom that was entitled, “A View of Our School.”

After the play, the audience was invited to a punch reception. The photo display was mounted on the wall behind the reception table. The attendees were invited to make a donation for any prints they wanted. The entire project took only two weeks of concentrated effort and cost me a pack of black construction paper. From these efforts we raised $126. My students were introduced to an economic vocabulary and became comfortable using it. They also learned about envisioning a process and thinking it through before implementing it.

Indeed, every project does not need to be high in resource costs!

– Submitted by Beth Vander Kolk, Grand Rapids, Michigan