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Toy and Trade show teaches students entrepreneurship

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By Deborah Swearingen

Students at Westridge Elementary School received a lesson in entrepreneurship and economics during the annual toy and trade show held on April 16.

The show is a showcase of a six-week unit that provides students an understanding of economic concepts through a fun and engaging hands-on simulation. For the project, students had to design their own companies, create interesting toy products, do market research, write a business proposal, create info graphics and commercials, host board meetings, make a prototype and participate in a school-wide trade show.

Allison Olis, fifth- and sixth-grade gifted and talented teacher, called the project the “ultimate teaching experience.”

“It promotes an incredible amount of creativity,” Olis said. “It gives them a sense of purpose, and they get so excited to see the comments that the other kids have.”

In addition to teaching the students about business, most agreed the toy and trade show was a lesson in teamwork.

“We also learned to work with a team,” Vanessa Tao, 11, said. “Because we had like a few arguments and disagreements, but in the end we managed to make a compromise together.”

Her team of four created animal-shaped crayons called “Cranimals.” After researching, they decided to gear their business toward younger children.

Another group created a stuffed monkey with a speaker inside of it that connects to Bluetooth or plugs directly into a phone or other music playing device. They called their toy “Speakamals.”

They, too, learned quite a bit about teamwork and perseverance.

“Teamwork’s always a good key, but I’ve for surely learned that the best ideas come when you wait,” said Clair Kozin, 12.

Her teammate Austin Davis, 12, had similar thoughts. He said the group struggled a bit in the beginning as it tried to come up with an idea for a toy.

“Even if you’re struggling, just keep going, keep trying,” Davis said. “Just keep trying, trying, trying.”

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.