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McREL Standards Activity


Trading Post Simulation


Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will understand the basic concepts of exchange, the purpose of money, and the concepts of trade and barter.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
Economics
 Standard 4.Understands basic features of market structures and exchanges
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 1. Understands that in an exchange people trade goods and services for other goods and services or for money
Economics
 Standard 4.Understands basic features of market structures and exchanges
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 3. Understands that when two people trade because they want to, they expect to be better off after the exchange
Economics
 Standard 4.Understands basic features of market structures and exchanges
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 4. Knows that barter is trading goods and services for other goods and services without using money
Language Arts
 Standard 8.Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 1. Makes contributions in class and group discussions (e.g., reports on ideas and personal knowledge about a topic, initiates conversations, connects ideas and experiences with those of others)
Student Product:A simulation and an oral discussion
Material & Resources:Teachers will provide materials that can be used to represent goods and services, such as canned goods to represent food, shoes to represent clothing, some shingles to represent shelter, etc. Services will be represented by slips of paper or cards with various services indicated on them (e.g., auto repair, electrical repair, lawn care).
Teacher's Note:The teacher should create a "trading post" in which students can trade items or barter for items. The class is divided into those who run the trading post and those who are coming to use the trading post. The teacher provides a variety of items for trade–canned foods, clothing items, shoes, hats–any items that can be used to represent goods. The teacher should provide cards or slips of paper with different types of services written on them. Some items will have tags indicating what they can be traded for–other items will be up for barter. Students who engage in trading are provided with a number of items they can use for trade and a list of items they should try to obtain. For instance, a student list might look like the following: 2 cans food 1 shirt A new roof for the house A fixed car A visit to the doctor If this activity is used at the kindergarten level, the teacher might want to consider placing the "consumers" into small groups so that less confident or shy students feel more comfortable participating in the activity.
Activity
Preparation: The classroom is divided into two groups. One group runs the trading post and ensures that they receive the appropriate trade goods for their items. The "post" consists of a set of goods (e.g., food and clothing exchange) and services such as automotive repair, doctor visits, and house repairs. Because services are harder to represent in any concrete manner, the teacher should right them down on slips of paper or cardstock. The other group is provided with a number of trading items (i.e., cans of food, articles of clothing) and lists of goods and services they should try to acquire before they leave the trading post. The teacher "opens" the trading post by demonstrating how to trade and barter for goods and services. Activity: Students are given a specified amount of time (a class period) to simulate a trading post. Their goal is to acquire as much off their lists as they can afford with their given resources. Once the simulation period is over, the teacher asks each group of students to report orally about the simulation. Students who ran the trading post are asked to describe if they were able to gain the appropriate trade items for their goods and services. Students who were using the trading post describe their experiences in acquiring the items on their lists. All students engage in a discussion about the concepts of trade and barter and what those words mean in practice.