When you were in 3rd Grade, would you have ever imagined all of the work that went into the building and managing of your favorite restaurant? What about having to plan out a city and figure out where those buildings would be placed? A restaurant in a residential area?
These sound like pretty grown up decisions, but at the same time our children deserve to be inspired and prepared to succeed in a global economy. These types of project based learning activities get our young people excited and interested in diverse ways, and become valuable lessons learned that they will remember. This is another great example of Estes Thrives.
Dean Belka, a Board of Directors member for Junior Achievement out of Lincoln, NE and his wife, Sue, have been volunteering their time with the Estes Park School District to help present economic concepts to students in fun and nontraditional ways.
In April of 2017, Erinn Wharton's third grade class was tasked with building a city. During the project, they had to learn about zoning, they built pop up buildings, and they had to make their proposals to the two designated "city planners" to see if they were compliant with their designs.
The students learned about taxes, and how that money is collected and used. They also opened up a mock restaurant in their town, and did everything from creating the menu to "buying" the goods that they would need to open. Additionally, they went through the hiring process and worked on advertising.
The students were extremely engaged and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If learning is presented to a young child in a way that is fun and interesting to them, the subject matter doesn't always have to be traditional. By creating a learning experience that held their attention, and that they became invested in, they were able to see the project through from start to finish, and conquer any obstacles they ran into. What a great lesson for the children of tomorrow: Global and Local Awareness, Critical Thinking, Perseverance, Logic and so much more.