Hands-On Business and Money Math Lessons: Student Entrepreneur Manufacturer’s Marketplace

The following is a post from Patrick G. Mackaronis. Patrick is the Director of Business Development for New York City-based social network Brabble. In this post, Patrick has talked about the Manufacturer’s marketplace that ca engage the students in active learning and get memorable lessons that they can enjoy. Patrick can be best reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

In my never-ending quest to make learning more hands-on and content more approachable, here is a school activity that combines business and money math, writing, design, marketing, public relations and organization: it’s called Manufacturer’s Marketplace. If you want to engage your students in active learning and create a memorable lesson plan that everyone will enjoy then Manufacturer’s Marketplace is the venue for you.

The concept behind a Manufacturer’s Marketplace is quite simple. Each student must design and produce a good or service, which he vends to his school community on a given school day. All that is needed from the teacher’s perspective is a time, place and student body. Manufacturer’s Marketplace can be held in any grade; in school districts in which children enter middle school in sixth grade, Manufacturer’s Marketplace makes a great ‘farewell to fifth grade and elementary school’ project’.

To organize Manufacturer’s Marketplace with your students or homeschool cooperative, each child should be given a planning sheet to fill out with parents, explaining what good or service he plans to market, his costs involved and his final price per unit. Goods should be made by hand and not purchased. Students should draw a model of their product or service as well as an advertising poster to be hung in the school hallway. Cost per product should be kept under $1.00 per unit so that student’s with little pocket money can still purchase something. As a class, students should create a take-home flyer to be sent home with students in all grades, reminding students to bring money for Manufacturer’s Marketplace Day.

On Manufacturer’s Marketplace Day, students should set up their product on individual desks or tables. Part of the assignment is to create enough product to supply the number of students in the school. Recommend that students bring at least one unit for every three – five students in the school. An important part of this marketing assignment that students will learn is about supply and demand. Classrooms of students should be given slots of time to browse and shop.

After Manufacturer’s Marketplace Day, the student should calculate profit, any discounts they may have given, any hidden costs incurred as well as any leftover product (to be deducted from the sales as a business liability). Students should also write a brief business report analyzing the project, listing successes as well as changes that they would make next time (bought too little, over-bought, etc.).

Suggested items to market:

pet rocks
friendship bracelets
paper airplanes
knitted or crocheted headbands
hacky sacks
hair ornaments
cootie catchers
pencil toppers
I-pod cases
handmade toys
small shakes or smoothies
bead jewelry
wrist cuffs


face painting
hand drawn tattoos
fingernail painting
back massage
foot massage

Manufacturer’s Marketplace is a great math, business, book-keeping, design, entrepreneurial, marketing and social event for your school. For more lesson plans and school projects, visit me at www.freelessonplans4u.blogspot.com. For craft suggestions that students can make for Manufacturer’s Marketplace, visit me at www.greencrafts.blogspot.com.

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