Fourth graders from across the Pittsburg area had a chance to apply what they've been learning in class through an activity with PSU's Students in Free Enterprise this week.
"Just Imagine Nation," an economic simulation project developed by SIFE and Babs Tims, a fourth grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary in Pittsburg, was held Jan. 25-26 at Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium. The biggest event of the year for SIFE, the activity teaches children about the market economy of four regions of the U.S.
In past years, the event has been called "Just Imagine World," where students learned about trade on a global scale. But with a unique economic situation and the need to synchronize with the fourth-grade social studies curriculum, organizers decided to tighten up the activity for the nearly 300 schoolchildren that participate.
"We had international students in SIFE who were helping students learn about trade in other countries, but we wanted to take it back to a national level to address issues here," said Tims, who has been with the project since its start in the 90s. "I hope it reinforces their social studies skills and lets what we do in school come to life."
The project divides students into teams representing four regions of the U.S. - the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West. Students work to develop products unique to those areas and create a marketing plan before buying and selling their products as imports and exports.
As children rushed to one another's booths to take part in a frenzy of trade, SIFE member and Just Imagine Nation co-chairman Daniel Koucky said months of education had gone into the moment.
"It's amazing to see how far they've come," said Koucky, who along with other SIFE members visited the children's classes to discuss how trade markets work. "It's been a great experience for me, learning how to speak in front of large groups and getting a chance to teach what I know."
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