Clairbourn School: Third Grade Market Day

Clairbourn third-graders are learning to be savvy business owners and producers! ​Their classroom is set up to help them study and apply economic principles, and students are immersed in real​-life economic situations from the first day they walk into the classroom.

To begin, the students must apply for classroom jobs​–some of which require letters of recommendations from previous teachers. From these jobs, the students earn a weekly salary. They have to pay taxes and rent for their desks, but can save and budget to buy classroom privileges.

Expanding the students understanding of economic principles led to the creation of the Market Day event. The goal of Market Day is to give students a real life situation where they can experience what businesses face on a daily basis. ​At the event, students display their self-created wares and sell them to parent visitors who pay with “Banana Bucks.”

Students ha​ve four weeks to prepare for Market Day. This include​s applying for and getting jobs, creating business plans, and ​working eight class periods to get their businesses running. The students also have a ​ten dollar limit on capital resources needed to produces their goods. Some students were set on making things like rainbow loom bracelets–this led to the $10 limit on capital resources.

Students brainstorm ​product ideas​ which they can only make using classroom supplies. All ideas are written on the board and then students form businesses around their interests and skills.

From this activity, students learn about supply, demand, scarcity, resources, income, taxes, expenses, profit, opportunity cost, and and many other important economic principles. They learn how to deal with and handle customers. They learn how to work together in a team.

One student told their teacher, “Market day was so busy. I had people bargaining with me, and I and to think about the price that was fair for the product I made.” Another student reported, “I had trouble keeping track of inventory and helping customers at the same time!” Another boy shared, “In the last few minutes of Market Day, I had to lower the price to help the demand go up.”

See more pictures here!

Clairbourn School, 8400 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 286-3108 or visit


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