Market Simulation
by Brenda Betz-Stoltz

Read Brenda's profile Printable version of the lesson


Grades: Upper Elementary / Middle

Duration - 2 days
Curriculum Areas
Social Studies
Foreign Language
To develop an understanding of the role of markets in Asian countries
To develop place and location of southern India
To develop a cultural understanding (significance) of markets
To understand the different kinds of markets
To understand barter and exchanging of goods
Background Information for Teachers

A market is a place that brings people together that want to sell/trade goods that they have produced or bought and buy/trade goods they want. Markets are not just places to buy goods. They are colorful, busy places where people come together to meet, talk, and take care of their family’s needs. The price of goods is worked out after much talk about a fair price or exchange. Barter is the simplest type of exchange. In this lesson the market price of the item is decided by the exchange of another item (e.g. one Twins baseball cap = two Snickers candy bars). Bartering is an effective means of trade.
Materials required

- Market Video (13 minutes) (You will need Quicktime to view the video. You can download it for free here).
- Books about markets
- Parent letter sent out a week before Market Day
- Used Goods brought in by students for the simulation


Markets exist all over the world. Explain to the class that they are going to see two Indian markets (fish market and village market) in the video. Have students brainstorm markets they have been to or know about.


Explain types of markets.

Street markets are a cultural part of daily life in Asia. People come to buy fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruits. This is important because it is hard to keep fresh food in India’s hot climate. Many markets also have stalls where people cook and sell food for people that are walking by.

Village markets are found in many Asian countries. People bring goods they made or have grown in or around their village. It is usually a special day when many families come into the village to get supplies and trade/sell their wares. Many other goods are also found here. The market is organized in stalls by products (e.g. fruits, meats, hardware, clothes).

City markets are held in areas of the city on the streets and sidewalks. They are for people to buy and sell goods without having to pay for buildings. The stalls are organized by the items that people sell. Each area specializes in specific goods (e.g. hardware, clothes, food).

Supermarkets & Department stores are similar to stores we have in the United States.
Show the Market Video
- What types of things can you buy at a market?
- What kind of bargaining is possible at a market?

Activity 2:

Market day
Students should bring used items from home to barter with. No cash is exchanged.
Arrange desks in a large circle. Give the students a few minutes to set up their booths (desks).

Once everyone is set up, divide the class into two groups. Allow the first group a couple minutes to look at the items brought in by other classmates, and then the second group. No bartering can take place yet.

Allow students to begin bartering/trading. Allow as much time as needed (30-40 minutes).

Lead the class in a discussion about Market day. What were the advantages of exchange? Were there any problems? What did you exchange and why? How were Price determined? How is bartering different than buying goods at a store?


- To Market, by Julie Hamstom, Keith Pigdon, Marilyn Wolley
- “How Trade Creates Wealth” from the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE)
- Lessons about Asia


Economic vocabulary: supply and demand, market price
Foreign language would add vocabulary of items and price.

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