Talbot Hill has a functioning MicroSociety - where our students become employees and consumers, in order to learn WHY they are learning "all this stuff". All students at Talbot are part of our MicroSociety program. Together, they run businesses, banks, a marketplace, and a government with branches for taxation and licensing. Each student earns "cool cash," which can be used to purchase student-made goods at the marketplace. This model is based on the MicroSociety® program, used in hundreds of schools nation-wide.
We have a Bank, the IRS, City Hall, small businesses, newspaper, fitness, science... and each of our students has a job. During Marketplace, they have an opportunity to become consumers and find out what the other organizations have been doing. Students have a chance to practice everything they learn in the classroom during their MicroSociety activities. Reading, math, language, social studies, and technology become practical tools, rather than abstract concepts. Our students use science or writing or technology to make interesting products, then have to write directions for the products and ads to sell them. After the Marketplace, the students have to figure out how well they did, and then figure out if they can meet their payroll or pay their loan. Students see how what they have learned in their classroom applies in the real world.
MicroSociety has significance beyond the teaching of basic skills. Running a business teaches the consequences of behavior: students learn they must work in order to be paid, cooperate in order to get a job done, and plan ahead. And they may even try out a career that they are interested in. Students learn that they have the power to make a difference in their world.
They learn the basics of economics by doing it. They understand scarcity when they want to buy a cookie from the Kinder Cooks - and there aren't any left. They understand cost analysis and profit vs. loss - when they did (or didn't) sell everything - and now they have to pay their employees and pay their loan. They understand saving their money - so they can buy that really cool robot at the Recycling center or bid on cool stuff at the 5th grade auction.
Talbot Hill's MicroSociety Program has been affiliated with the MicroSociety® Program for over 20 years. The MicroSociety® Program is a non-profit organization that provides support, training and technical assistance as well as networking opportunities to schools and teachers implementing the MicroSociety® Program.