The garden of Marina Del Rey Middle School was transformed into an Old World bartering and trade center June 17 as part of an interdisciplinary initiative with the school’s mathematics and history departments.
The nations featured in the multicultural marketplace included Greece, India, Mesopotamia, China and Egypt. Students spent part of their time in booths selling wares of the various nations and the rest of their time purchasing goods with currency they created in the classroom.
“Each product was calculated according to a currency exchange rate, so you could buy something at a booth in Greece even if you were coming from Egypt,” explained Bootsie Holt, a math teacher who was involved with the history project.
Holt and history teacher Susan Hostler said the Multicultural Ancient World Marketplace project took approximately five weeks to conceive and put into place. Hostler, who like Holt teaches sixth grade, said the marketplace concept gave students who normally might not stand out in class an opportunity to showcase certain skills.
“This gave a lot of kids the chance to shine,” she said.
The students worked in groups designing the elements of the marketplace and were given points for certain items. They designed and created a passport stamp, the marketplace booths, their clothing, which was representative of the showcased countries, a variety of products and wrote an essay.
They also received points for keeping an accounting book, product display, booth advertising signs, as well as effort and attitude. A travel brochure was graded separately.
Parents of the sixth graders also volunteered at the marketplace, and students and visitors went from booth to booth examining the wide scope of artworks and products.
“I was really impressed with how engaged the students were, said Holt.