The Franklin Elementary School third-graders behind Love-a-lamps sold their product to their peers for three tickets apiece on Wednesday.
They started out with 45 of the plastic bottles filled with water, vegetable oil, food coloring and bubble-inducing Alka Seltzer. Within about two hours, their inventory was down to two.
Luci Deichman, the group’s president, said the experience leading up to Wednesday taught her how to work well with others.
“Teamwork makes the dream work!” added the group’s marketing director, Yoslen Robaina.
Cain Camarena, the group’s treasurer, said he learned that vegetable oil is “very slippery.”
Love-a-lamps were just one of the products for sale at Franklin Fun Town in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday. From do-it-yourself slime to Super Spectacular Sprite Sherbet, students spent the morning buying and selling goods and services from their fellow elementary entrepreneurs. It was the culmination of a three-week project to teach the school’s third-graders about economics.
Tammy Arthur, the Title I teacher at Franklin Elementary School, said she got the idea for Franklin Fun Town from her daughter, who used to teach at a school in Westfield that hosted a similar activity.
“It’s all about teaching kids how to be entrepreneurs,” Arthur said.
Before Franklin Fun Town opened for business, Arthur said the third-graders were busy learning about goods, services, consumers and producers for the economics portion of their social studies curriculum.
“We felt like this would be a much better way to do it than just to read about it,” she said.
As she and her colleagues organized the project, Arthur said the school raised $750, $50 over its goal. She added the school is very thankful to the local businesses that contributed.
Arthur said students took quizzes that indicated what role they’d be best for in their groups — president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and marketing director.
When they set out to develop the good or service they wanted to provide, Arthur said the groups researched what supplies they needed while remembering to stay within their $50 budgets.
Students decorated posters that hung off their tables displaying what they were selling and for how many tickets. Each ticket cost a quarter and students exchanged their American currency for Franklin Fun Town’s upon entering the gymnasium.
Arthur hopes the project will make enough of a profit to start up its return next year. She said 75 percent of what’s left after that will go to the Salvation Army while the remaining quarter will pay for a celebration.
The gym was as bustling as the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. One group sold do-it-yourself slime made out of glue, baking soda, contact solution and food coloring. Another was marketing picture frames made out of brightly colored ice pop sticks with big letters glued onto them spelling words like “Fun,” “Wonder” and “Star Wars.”
Some groups offered games like shooting hoops to win suckers or drawing a rubber duck out of a kiddie pool with the hopes of nabbing a prize based on the number underneath. At one group’s table, patrons could trade tickets to get their picture taken while wearing fun props.
S’mores and Super Spectacular Sprite Sherbet were for sale. At another table there was an assembly line of students feeding ice into a snow cone machine, filling paper cones and dousing the crushed ice with flavored syrup.
Roslyn Morgan was the secretary of her group, which sold stress balls consisting of small balloons stuffed with flour.
“We know a lot of people get stressed out,” she said. “Instead of taking their stress out on everyone else, they can take it out on a balloon.”
Reach Mitchell Kirk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5130