people see a simple Post-it note, the creators of the Meaningful
Economics and Entrepreneurship (ME*) Competition see an opportunity to
expand imaginations and enhance learning.
ME* challenges teams of Delaware students in third through fifth
grade to complete unique economics and entrepreneurship projects
designed for each grade level. The competition is staged over four days
and held in both New Castle and Sussex counties to accommodate
elementary students throughout the state.
At the 30th annual ME* Competition in Newark this year, third grade
students were prompted to rethink the familiar office supply.
Teams of students then presented their ideas to panels of judges made
up of volunteers from Bank of America, Capital One, Discover, Wells
Fargo and Adopt-a-Family.
For the challenge, students could either create a new type of Post-it
note, a new use for a Post-it note, a product that can be used with a
Post-it note or a product that competes with a Post-it note.
The winning team, coming from MOT Charter School and coached by
teacher Alycia Jefferson, created “Super Sticky Scented Post-its” in
flavors like watermelon and lime.
Other clever ideas included color-coded Post-its with different levels of stickiness, Post-it note fashion and Post-it origami.
The competition also included a paper test of economics and personal
finance knowledge, won by a team of Thurgood Marshall Elementary third
graders coached by teacher Christel Skaug, and an assembly line-style
production activity, won by a team of Downes Elementary third graders
coached by teacher Sandra Schlapfer.
During this year’s production activity, students also assembled thank-you cards intended for Adopt-a-Family gift donors.
Ronni Cohen, executive director of the Delaware Financial Literacy
Institute (DFLI), describes ME* as the spelling bee or Science Olympiad
The University of Delaware’s Center for Economics Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) partners with the DFLI to administer ME*.
Bonnie Meszaros, associate director of the CEEE, said that ME*, which
this year included 98 teams of 392 students from 20 schools, also
provides students with a friendly introduction to academic competition.
Teacher and first-time ME* attendee Belinda Rhinehart from Keene
Elementary said that her students were excited to tell her about ME* and
their previous experiences with the competition.
Rhinehart prepared her students with materials provided by the CEEE
and by incorporating higher-level thinking and project-based learning
into her class structure.
Her students learn about markets and target audiences in class by
creating their own products and pitching them to classmates and
While economics might seem like a complicated subject for elementary
school students, Rhinehart explained that it’s important to remember
that economics is incorporated into many parts of our daily lives.
“Economics is basically being a part of society where you’re buying and selling goods and services,” she said.
Helping students to understand these principles and to succeed, she continued, is deeply fulfilling.
“I love what I do,” Rhinehart said.