Abstract 5-Volume 7-Number 1, Spring 2012

Classroom Societies and Common Markets: The Gem Fair

William C.  Wood
James Madison University

Lynne F.  Stover
James Madison University

Martha C.  Hopkins
Florida State University



In-class societies such as the Mini-Society and Mini-Economy provide opportunities for teaching important lessons about choice, scarcity, and economic organization.  Those lessons are multiplied when in-class societies meet each other for simulated international trade.  We describe a Global Entrepreneurship Marketplace Fair (GEM Fair) for participating elementary and middle school students.  The basics of in-class societies, the benefits of cross-society trade, and the administrative setup of an international marketplace are summarized.  The limitations of a GEM Fair as also discussed, including large subsidies from parents, “end-of-the-world” effects near the end of a GEM Fair, and the tendency of a free GEM Fair market to produce too many snack food items (from a parent’s or teacher’s point of view).

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