A few years ago our SIFE team noticed that there are currently no standards for economics education in Pennsylvania school curricula. Furthermore, there are no standardized tests to ensure that students are learning economic concepts. In response to this, Business Bookbags was born. Launched in the spring of 2005, this program is designed for students in 1st through 3rd grades.
To assist with this project, our SIFE team forged a partnership with EconomicsPennsylvania, a statewide non-profit organization, to implement Business Bookbags with three goals in mind: 1) to promote economic education, 2) to develop literacy skills, and 3) to increase parental participation in children’s education.
Members from our team put together multiple sets of bookbags, each containing three economic-themed books, 3 activities, and 3 discussion questions, along with an evaluation sheet to be filled out after the students completed the bags. The bookbags focused on topics such as saving, budgeting, etc. All activities were aligned to Pennsylvania education standards.
Once the bags were completed, we sent them to Mount Carmel Elementary School for the pilot program. The bags were kept in the library and could be checked out by students to take home. Based on the evaluation sheets, we saw that Business Bookbags was a huge success and we began to expand this project. In the spring of 2006 we sent a set of bags to Audobon Park Elementary in Florida. Inspired by the idea that Business Bookbags could reach not only a national audience, but an international one as well, in the same school year two of our SIFE members personally delivered a set of Business Bookbags to the Cofradia Bilingual School in Cofradia, Honduras. The bookbags are still being used by students at the school today. We continue to look for opportunities to implement Business Bookbags in local, national, and international schools, and anticipate the continued expansion of this successful project.
This year, member of the proejct are sorting through the books that were collected from the book drive, and are deciding where to donate them. They have already set aside some of the used books to send to the Seals' Den and are looking for other local, national and international locations. They have also collected unused business book bags from Selinsgrove Elementary and are currently locating schools where the bags can be distributed.