Charleston Day School
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In the Classroom

4th Grade Annual Holiday Market

December 20

The Charleston Day School 4th grade class just wrapped up sales at its annual Holiday Market. The student-led business project is a cross-curricular project that activates communication skills, critical thinking, and teamwork. The project began just after Halloween when 4th grade math teacher, Mrs. Mary Ellen Reese, introduced the project to the students.

Charleston Day holiday market students entering data on computerA goal of the Market is to experience many aspects of a business. Students created marketing materials including a logo, determined their product line, and estimated costs. The students also researched local charitable organizations and chose a recipient for the Market’s proceeds. This year, the 4th grade will donate its profits to the Ronald McDonald House.

Holiday Market Cookie Mixes

School market projects require a mix of academic and practical skills. Historically, CDS 4th graders produced Mason jar cookie mixes. One big factor this year when sourcing materials was the ingredient costs. The students calculated the total cost to produce 20-dozen jars of cookie mixes before setting a sale price. “Costs are on the rise– especially chocolate. We had to set a price per jar that would result in a profit. That was a huge lesson for the students,” commented Mrs. Reese.

Charleston Day holiday market assembly line

Students manufactured the cookie mixes on two huge assembly lines in the school Commons. The whole process only took about 90 minutes. “It worked like clockwork,” noted one surprised 4th grader. Prior to running the assembly lines, Chefs Keith and Kayla visited the class to discuss food preparation and the importance of cleanliness in a food prep area. 

Life Lessons

The school market project is not just about selling products; it’s also about the learning process and applying academic skills in a real-world setting. Students observed that not all the jobs were that exciting, but everyone had a role, and it was important to work together to make the business successful. 

Charleston Day holiday market gift tag station

Earlier in the semester, 4th graders participated in the Invention Convention, which also emphasized important life skills. Often students get frustrated when they are not immediately successful. The Invention Convention encouraged students to persevere through obstacles.

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