The future became the present for a group of Johnston Elementary fourth and fifth grade gifted and talented students over the last few weeks. The 17 students became business owners.

Working in pairs, or as individuals, these students were challenged to create a product to be purchased by their peers, advertise their products and then produce the products utilizing what they have learned about supply and demand.

“We did our planning and made a supply list,” said fourth grader Brayden Henry. “We made backpack charms and sold them for $1.”

For fifth grader Paisley Shaw, she used her love for art to create her products.

“I got a lot of paints and canvases for Christmas, so I looked at Pinterest and got ideas,” Paisley said. “I painted different patterns and sold the painted canvases for $2 each.”

The students were responsible for gathering supplies outside of normal school supplies while dealing with the stresses of being a business owner, but for students like fourth grader Mekhi Johnson, they were excited about the opportunity to learn.

“Through these experiences, we get a feel for what it will be like when we are older, to be a real business person,” Mekhi said. “This is like a test for a real job. It gave us a real experience.”

The products ranged from braided necklaces and themed bracelets to fizzy bath bombs and tiny canvas paintings. The students supported each other in the process of generating ideas, making posters for advertising and completing the products.

Students’ parents and the Johnston PTA also supported them in their entrepreneurship. The Johnston PTA provided students a loan to have petty cash to make change to customers. Students charged $1 or $2 for their creations and had to use math skills to make change. Students were responsible for paying back the loan from the PTA.

“We are learning what it feels like to be under pressure,” said fourth grader Sarah Bourn. “It’s like virtual reality to think and see what life will be like.”