In this hands-on, experiential project, second-graders are given a lot of freedom as they design a dream business. They may work independently or with a partner. They can sell a product or a service that is homemade, inexpensive, and not food (because of allergy concerns).
The students conduct market surveys, sign rental agreements, make business cards, and film commercials. There is also an optional field trip to Target to study store design, pricing, and advertising.
Some offer services like language lessons. Many choose to sell products: bracelets, bookmarks, portraits, origami, clay animal figurines. Anything very small and cute did well. Here, in students' own words, are some other business insights:
- It's better to work with a partner because running a business is a lot of work.
- If someone works for you, you have to pay them.
- Location is important.
- Sometimes you have to walk around and sell door-to-door.
- It is hard to work with a business partner. You might have disagreements and you have to share the profit.
- It is fun to have a popular and successful business.
After each "store day," students can change their business or partner if things aren't going well or if they want to try something new. Patrons include classmates, eighth-grade buddies, even parents.
The teacher breaks her own rule on the final day, allowing a group of students who loved baking to sell cupcakes, brownies, and Rice Krispie treats. These prove so popular and are priced so competitively that consumer protections are quickly put in place.