Dragon Shack Junior at Arcola

An experienced holiday shopper may have thought he or she was in a crowded shopping mall or perhaps one of those high-end toy stores in Times Square.  Shoppers were lined up behind stanchions and being admitted to the store in small groups of two or three at a time.

It wasn’t FAO Schwarz or even Tyson’s Corner.  It was the Dragon Shack Junior at Arcola Elementary.  The pop-up store, operating just a few early mornings before the opening of school, prompted a large response from the school’s students.

Dragon Shack Junior was a project-based learning unit for the first grade.  Students learned about economics; particularly goods and services.  They made change and tallied their sales to create graphs and charts of their sales.

Items in the store included stress balls, pompom pencils, pompom bookmarkers and the ever-popular slime.  All items in the store were made by first-graders after conducting extensive market research using surveys.  The slime was so popular that the entire inventory of 50 cans sold out on the first day the store opened.  At $1 per can, the slime sales alone pushed the enterprise over its $50 fundraising goal.

In addition to these products, the students also offered various services to teachers at the school in sort of a “mail order” business.  The students left flyers in teachers’ mailboxes that promoted the various services they offered: teacher’s helper, sweeper, pencil sharpener or reader.  Services ranged in price from 50 cents to $1.  Teachers returned an order slip at the bottom of the flyer to request a service.  The reader service was especially popular, as students worked to improve their own reading skills while helping another class.

Proceeds raised from both ventures will be donated to providing kids in need with school supplies, a cause also selected by the students.

Jen Clark is the first-grade teacher whose class ran Dragon Shack Junior.  Holly Cuddington is the resource teacher in the class.