Jordan Ridge students learn entrepreneurship skills through Renaissance Faire
Aug 23, 2018 05:40PM
● By Jana Klopsch
Sixth-grade students learned about the Renaissance time period, then created their own guild businesses for a hands-on learning experience. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
For a few shillings, handmaidens and ladies in waiting — and even the school principal — could have their hair styled with fashionable twists and turns.
It was one of the guild businesses that was available to participants at the Renaissance Faire, put on as a cumulative hands-on learning experience for Jordan Ridge sixth-graders.
“The Renaissance Faire was designed to give our students a taste of what life was like during this period of European history,” sixth-grade teacher Crystal Nebeker said. “This activity also encourages responsibility and business sense.”
Sixth-graders Georgia Madsen and Kira Kingston took their knowledge and talent of braiding hair into a business. They charged a few shillings, or in this case mock money, for a Dutch braid or one into a bun or ponytail.
One of their first customers was Principal Melissa Beck.
“It’s a way I can participate and support our students as they learn through the Renaissance Faire,” she said. “It’s a cross-curriculum fair where they not only learn about the time period but also how to create a product, make a business plan and advertise to execute their business.”
Nebeker said through the Faire, students learned entrepreneurship skills and economics.
“It’s also a lesson in responsibility,” she said as she charged two shillings for a pair of gloves that were needed at several of the food booths. “They need to bring everything they were supposed to remember. Some students forgot some of their supplies, so they are learning what all it takes to run successful businesses.”
Among the options Faire go-ers could visit were Ye Olde Candy Shop, The Wizard’s Hat or other businesses to make purchases from root beer, sandwiches and candy to having a minstrel sing.
Business was going well for Alivia McEwan and Haylee Gardner, who were selling homemade bracelets and slime.
“We made more than 100 bracelets during a two-week period,” Alivia said.
Haylee added, “We decided to add slime to our booth, people love to play with it.”
Caleb Watson, with business partners Dane Knudsen and Bruce Stringham, had consistent customers for cold soda marked at three shillings per can.
“Most kids love modern-day soda, and as we can’t sell beer, we can provide some fizz,” Caleb said about their business, Ye Old Tavern.
Magic, fortunetelling and witchcraft, complete with girls dressed to the part, were part of the Faire.
The idea came from Sabrina Montero’s mother, who helped the girls brainstorm business opportunities.
“We liked magic and fortune telling and wanted to make sure there was something for everyone to do,” partner Kate Christensen said.
The third member of the team, Kjerstin Cox, said she learned there was a lot of work.
“There was a lot to plan, but it was fun to do through teamwork,” she said. “We learned it was a hard time period to live without a lot of the conveniences we know.”
Another “authentic” booth was that of Cooper Schott and Zach Richards, who made and sold catapults.
“Catapults came from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, so we thought it would be fun to make them for people to buy and mess around with them with their friends,” Cooper said. “Back then, they obviously were a lot harder to make than the 40 we made with Popsicle sticks, spoons and rubber bands.”
Borax crystals and quill pens were among the popular items for sale at Ye Olde Scribblex, established by Ava Treft, Mallory Burton and Danner Delaney, who used modern-day technology — a computer googling Pinterest — for ideas.
“We wanted to make what we thought people would buy,” Mallory said. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t, and we’d still have our merchandise.”
They also offered a scribble game for two shillings.
Nebeker said that through paying a few shillings elsewhere, she was able to play some games at other booths as well as have one student sing “Old McDonald” on a dare, buy candy on a pole and put her colleague Christine McIntyre in jail while paying to keep herself out of jail.
“The Fleet,” or the jail, was popular as Faire go-ers could pay two shillings to place another person behind bars for five minutes. An additional fee could be placed to release the prisoners.
“It’s funny the way people get entertained,” said one of the jail keepers, Carson Stettler. “We were able to simulate how a Renaissance jail was by making one out of donated boxes from Lowe’s and spray painting it.”
Prior to the faire, a tournament is held to determine who will be queen and king, Nebeker said. The two winners wore crowns at the Faire and were able to have one free item from each guild. However, they also had their own guild with partners as well.
“Through the years, we’ve also had entertainment,” she said, adding that the Faire has been held for more than 25 years and that her own children have participated. “We’ve had vignettes and puppet shows. Through the Renaissance Faire, students are discovering what was popular during the time period, creating a guild and plan and making it a successful business today.”