Corinth third-grade tycoons launch ‘mini society’

By Finn Bullers

With school ending today, Corinth Elementary third-grade students in Prairie Village are jumping into summer prepared to wheel and deal at their neighborhood lemonade stands.

Ally Talge, (supply holders) and Morgan Woods (pencil holders), prepare to
sell their homecrafted treasures. Photos courtesy of Kara Chastain.
As part of a fourth-quarter economics lesson, each of the school’s three third-grade classes created a “mini society,” complete with their own name, laws, flag and currency.

Young entrepreneurs gathered one day last week to sell their creative wares on market day and take their first step toward a career in capitalism.

“Students learn a lot about being producers and consumers,” said third-grade teacher Kara Chastain who teamed with colleagues Kathy Sine and Molly Floyd-Molzer to pull off the project. “They also develop some money-management skills and have a better idea of how a society works.”

Alora Bullers, 9, a third-grader at the school, went to class one day last week prepared to sell 36 small Tupperware containers of multi-colored goo to her classmates. Next to her stood friend Olivia Elroz, who was selling sets of two bouncy balls.

“Some of the creative, biggest sellers were: lava lamps, homemade dog treats, sock creatures, pillows, jewelry and fake moustaches,” Chastain said.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, members of each class created their own society. They spent the quarter earning a daily income and being fined for breaking classroom laws.

To keep her goo fresh, or so she insist — Bullers stayed up past midnight with her father to play Ms. Science Gal in her quickly assembled kitchen chemistry lab.

There, she mixed Borax laundry booster, food coloring, clear and white Elmer’s glue and water to turn liquids into solids to create a rainbow burst of gelatinous goo — a science kit playground of polymers. Jell-O, rubber bands, plastic soda bottles, sneaker soles — even gum are all forms of polymers.

“Awesome,” was the young entrepreneur’s response as she watched the molecules in each liquid bond, in some cases creating the all-too-real appearance of snot.

She spooned each glob of goo into a clear plastic container, snapped on the blue lid and affixed a reflective sticker on the top. Then, she wrote “Goo” on the sticker with a thick, black Sharpie.

One report has it that another young goo-maker — Ashley Garverick — sold a similar slime, but her polymer creation glowed in the dark and sold for $85 a container.

That prove stiff competition for “Alora’s Gooey-Goo” that undercut Garverick’s price and sold for $40 a container. And isn’t that a guiding principle of capitalism?

In the past, students have created pillows, hand towels, badges, gadgets and doo-dads, all with the idea of creating low and selling high.

“The kids love the mini-society project,” Chastain said.