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Markets and Basic Economics #5: Student Bookshop

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Lesson Overview:

This lesson assumes that your students will be holding a market or souk as part of their UoI or as their summative assessment.  After studying basic economics and markets, many teachers plan a celebration of learning that is also a shopping extravaganza for the school community.  In Germany, we had a Markt, and in Dubai, a souk.  Whatever event your school hosts, some of the kids will be thrilled to work on a bookshop.  This lesson has a few tips for how I helped our students organize themselves and carry off a successful, one-day, student-run bookshop.  Grab your shopping bags and enjoy the selection!

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:



To plan and carry out a student bookshop at the Unit’s Souk or Market.  (AASL 2.3.1, “Connect understanding to the real world.”)

Suggested Time:

40-45 minutes

Success Criteria:

A small group of children will plan and carry out a student bookshop at the end-of-unit market.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

This is not so much a lesson as an activity for which the children should be ready and enthusiastic.  Remind the students what they are working on and make clear that you will support them in their efforts to organize a bookshop as part of their celebration of learning, end-of-unit activity.

Inform the students that first you’ll go over a business contract with them.  Then, you can start pulling out materials so that they can have a look at the inventory and stock.  Finally, they may want to think about some publicity and collection points for new donations in advance of the sale.

2. Main:

Draw up a business “contract” for the students who have been selected to run the bookshop.  I have attached a sample for your reference.  At our bookshops, we usually had a few leftover new books from the most recent book fair and some used book donations in storage, as well as new donations the children gather.   The sample contract addresses each type of inventory, who is responsible for them, how prices will be set, and who will be required to perform cleanup and repacking.  Your contract will look different, but if you have a quick glance at mine you’ll have some idea of a starting point.

Once you have an agreement with the students, show them the inventory you have in storage.  They will get excited and want to tear into boxes right away.  When I work with the kids, they are always welcome to dig into the materials so long as they put everything back and leave the library in order when they go!  (Good luck with that!!)

You may wish to have them make a list of the supplies they’ll need for the bookshop.  This usually includes markers, paper, and tape for signage.  They’ll need a cash box – something as simple as a clean ice-cream container with a lid usually works just fine.  They may also need bags or boxes so that shoppers have a way to take their purchases home.  They’ll have different ideas, but these are some of the basics.

3. Conclusion:

Agree on next steps.  Keep in touch with the group.  Support with announcements in the school newsletter or library website.  Most importantly, keep working with the children until the market is over.  They’ll run with it and always do a great job!  There may be some future booksellers amongst your students!

  1. Book inventory from storage, both old and new books
  2. Business contract between you and the students (attached)
  3. Markers, paper, and tape for making either advertising or inventory signage

I’ve done a Used Book Sale with students several times.  Compared to other student-run businesses, the bookshop is easy and fun!  You obviously can’t accomplish the book sale during lesson time, but this will give you a general idea of how I organize the effort as part of the Business/Economics unit.  Use this lesson as a time to work with the group.  Teachers are usually so grateful that they will sponsor/coach one of the stalls.  It’s one less thing for them to worry about and a great way to be active with your students outside of the library.

Don’t forget to shop at the sale!  Sometimes items that families donate make great additions to the collection.

Recommended books for this lesson:


Key Terms:

Buyers, Sellers, Products, Markets, Bookshops, Inventory, Contracts

Sample Contract, Student Bookshop