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Old Dominion University's Center for Economic Education recently received a $60,949 grant from the Virginia Council on Economic Education to continue to offer free workshops for local teachers. Included is the nationally acclaimed simulation, "Market Day," which brings economics to life for students in grades 3-8. A workshop on the mini-economy will be held Aug. 11-13 to prepare teachers interested in the program.

ODU held its first Market Day in May with 140 elementary school students from Portsmouth and Norfolk schools. "In this six to ten week simulation, the students start a society, and create a name, flag and currency in the classroom," said Ruth Cookson, program director of the center.

The students establish their own businesses to provide goods and services to fellow citizens in their classroom markets. This year, students formed 60 businesses selling a variety of merchandise, including handmade lanterns, jewelry and bookmarks. At the end of the simulation, the students met at ODU to review lessons and attend an awards ceremony honoring those for best marketing and most innovative products.

"The mini-economy simulation and its culmination, Market Day, help students understand basic economic principles. The simulation can also serve as a classroom management tool where teachers can assign students jobs that integrate with the rest of the curriculum and then students are paid with the created currency," said Cookson.

One of the program's goals is to prepare students for the Virginia History and Social Science Standards of Learning. Although economics is not a required course in Virginia, economic principles are pervasive throughout the K-12 Virginia curriculum. By reaching teachers through free training and workshops, the center has helped schools across Hampton Roads to reach full accreditation.

The ODU Center for Economic Education is one of 14 centers throughout the state that delivers the Virginia Council on Economic Education's programs. Founded in 1969, the nonprofit organization seeks to help students develop the decision-making skills needed to be informed citizens, productive employees, and wise consumers. Teachers interested in the center's programs should contact Ruth Cookson at cee@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: July 26, 2004

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