Barter Day 2016!

As part of our study of ancient civilizations, students will be learning about the development of the first economies. Key concepts of this unit include surplus-scarcity, supply and demand, and trade; money was not used. To give students a clearer understanding of the concept of trading, or bartering, we will have “Barter Day” on Thursday, December 22nd.

On Barter Day, students will become artisans in a marketplace and trade their “goods” with other students to learn about the challenges (and fun) of bartering. In the process, students learn about the importance of supply and demand and about competition in the marketplace.

Check out "Supply and Demand" on BrainPop!

To participate on Barter Day, students should look around the house for unwanted tacky knickknacks, trinkets, toys, or other junk treasure. The items that students bring in should be no more than can fit all together on a desk. The things that students bring in are for trading. Students should not bring in anything of value, or anything that is special to them. Some students choose to make “craftsy” items to trade. This is acceptable as long as the materials do not total more than $5.00 in cost.

Please note: Absolutely NO FOOD PRODUCTS.

Students should bring in their goods on Wednesday, December 21st to prevent anyone from forgetting and being left out on Barter Day. Students must bring something in order to participate.
Some helpful vocabulary for understanding a barter economy:

Barter: To trade goods or services without the exchange of money

Surplus: An amount, quantity, greater than is needed

Scarcity: Insufficiency of amount or supply; shortage

Trade: The act or process of buying, selling, or exchanging goods within a country or between countries: domestic trade; foreign trade (2.) A purchase or sale; business deal or transaction (3.) An exchange of items, usually without payment of money

Knickknack: an ornamental trinket or gimcrack; a bit of bric-a-brac 

Think you can't get anything by bartering but tacky knickknacks? Think again! A Canadan guy named Kyle MacDonald used bartering to go from a small red paperclip to a house. He worked his way across the country trading one thing for another without the use of money. I wonder if anyone will carry Barter Day that far...

Check out an article about him from the BBC News:
Man turns paper clip into house

 Here's the timeline of trading followed by Kyle MacDonald:
  • On July 14, 2005, he went to Vancouver and traded the paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.
  • He then traded the pen the same day for a hand-sculpted doorknob from Seattle, Washington, which he nicknamed "Knob-T."
  • He then traveled to Amherst, Massachusetts, with a friend to trade the Knob-T for a Coleman camp stove (with fuel).
  • He went to San Clemente, California, and traded the camp stove for a Honda generator.
  • He made a second (and successful) attempt (after having the generator confiscated by the New York City Fire Department) in Maspeth, Queens, to trade the generator for an "instant party."
  • He traded the "instant party" to Quebec comedian and radio personality Michel Barrette for a Ski-doo snowmobile.
  • Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia.
  • The second person on the trip to Yahk traded Kyle a cube van for the privilege. 
  • He traded the cube van for a recording contract with Metal Works in Toronto.
  • He traded the recording contract to Jody Gnant for a year's rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • He traded the one year's rent in Phoenix, Arizona, for one afternoon with Alice Cooper.
  • He traded the one afternoon with Alice Cooper for a KISS motorized snow globe.
  • He traded the KISS motorized snow globe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.
  • On or about July 5, 2006, he traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

Don't forget your tacky knickknacks on Thursday, December 22nd!