West Middleton market offers lots of lessons

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Sixty-six new entrepreneurs had a successful week recently.

The third-graders at West Middleton held a market from April 10-13 to raise money for a school in Africa. Among the items they sold were bookmarks, painted fans and jewelry. They raised a little more than $1,700.

All three third-grade teachers, Sammy Newburg, Diane Boles and Beth Marty, along with student teacher Nikki Clinger collaborated on the project.

“We didn’t know what to expect,’’ said Newburg, who did her student teaching at West Middleton and is in her third year there. “We thought we’d be lucky to end up with $100 or $200. We blew that out of the water on the first day.’’

To see photos from the project, please visit the district's Facebook page.

The project tied in nicely with the district’s new social studies curriculum, which included a unit on the economy, Newburg said. The students looked at different kinds of markets, products, producers, consumers and profit. They advertised by posting signs throughout the school and reading ads on the morning announcements. They also handled the cash registers.

Other classes signed up in advance or came in during free times.

“It’s been a very busy week,’’ Newburg said. “A pretty big portion of the school stopped in.’’

The third-graders didn’t just benefit in social studies. The market project also provided language arts and math lessons. 

“We thought it would be important for our students to have a first-hand look at how an economy works,’’ Newburg said. “It’s been a great experience for everyone.”

The students made the products just before spring break. They also priced the products. Tables were stocked with items throughout the week, although by Friday afternoon many of the tables were bare.

“Now it’s everything must go,’’ Newburg said.

All of the profits will go to the School for Andy, a solar-powered school in Buyaya, Uganda. The school was built as a memorial to Andy Manley, who died in a Sun Prairie house explosion in 2010. Manley was in Newburg’s teaching cohort at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

“It feels great to do something for him,’’ Newburg said.

To learn more for the School for Andy or the Meaningful Volunteer program, please visit their respective websites.

Newburg also thinks there is real value in students from the West Middleton community reaching out to those in need.

“It’s good for our students to learn what it really means to help others,’’ she said.

Newburg, Boles and Marty hope to make the market project a tradition.