The Toymaker Economics

  • Students will explore economics through the eyes of toy companies, concentrating on the Marx Toy Company (which had a large factory just 14 miles from the museum), and using artifacts and information on Marx in the museum’s collection.
  • Students will discuss innovations in toy manufacture and marketing through the years, using toys and artifacts in the museum’s collection to illustrate these innovations.
  • Students will analyze the labor and transportation effects on toy making.
  • Students will explore why supply and demand forced American companies to begin manufacturing toys and mass producing them, and why similar forces led to those same companies ultimately sending production abroad.
  • Students will discuss the sale of toys during various eras, the influence of television on the marketplace, and the new influence of the internet.
  • In a group activity we call “Kid Korporation”, students will be given “raw materials” with costs, and asked to try to design a toy from them. They will need to look at factors such as material costs, target market, ease of play, durability, etc. Each group will have to make a “sales presentation” to the rest of the class about their toy.

This program will take about a half day for your students to complete, so it can be done either in the morning or afternoon. The Toy Museum has an area where your students can have a bag lunch that they bring, and we also have refrigeration capacity, so that you will not need to make a separate lunch stop on your fieldtrip.

Target Grade Level/Audience

West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives addressed (5th Grade):

  • SS.5.3.1 Identify the roles of consumers and suppliers in the US economy.
  • SS.5.3.2 Apply the concept of supply and demand to a specific US situation.
  • SS.5.3.4 List geographic factors that can enhance or limit economic activities in various US regions.
  • SS.5.3.5 Describe the impact of industrialization on the economy of the US.
  • SS.5.3.7 Apply the concepts of sales, expenses and profits to a real life event.
  • SS.5.5.3 Describe the development of transportation in the US and explain its impact on settlement, industry and residential patterns.
  • SS.5.5.4 Explain why maintaining historical records and landmarks is important to the US.

Ohio 3-5 Social Studies Benchmarks addressed:

  • Economics Benchmark B: Explain why entrepreneurship, capital, goods, technology, specialization and division of labor are important in the production of goods and services.
  • Economics Benchmark C: Explain how competition affects producers and consumers in a market economy and why specialization facilitates trade.

Ohio most appropriate for Grade 4 OR Grade 5; academic content standards addressed:

  • Grade 4 Economics #3: Explain how entrepreneurs organize productive resources to produce goods and services and that they seek to make profits by taking risks.
  • Grade 5 Economics #3: Explain how education, capital goods and the division of labor affect productive capacity.
  • Grade 5 Economics #5: Explain the general relationship between supply, demand and price in a competitive market.
  • Grade 5 Economics #6: Explain why competition among producers/sellers results in lower costs and prices, higher product quality, and better customer service.