The project began with an exciting opportunity for my students to work in a business that I created called “Beach Burgers.” When the kids walked in from lunch I had everything set up to pitch my business to a volunteer “Shark” (an idea from the popular TV show Shark Tank). This idea included props like a beach towel, sand pail, and a beach background scene, to make my pitch extra engaging.
Once the “Shark” approved my business, I was ready to hire employees, but they had to fill out a Job Application form first. After the kids filled out their applications, they were hired and given a Beach Burgers employee hat (donated by In-N-Out Burgers with our company logo attached). I had two assembly lines set up with all the preparations my employees would need to do their job successfully. This assembly line was inspired by Hope King’s lesson but I modified the ingredients a bit: Nilla Wafer buns, York Peppermint Pattie burger patties, red gel icing ketchup, square pieces of Fruit by the Foot cheese, lettuce & tomato.
The kids were SO engaged throughout this experience and I cracked up when one of my students said, “Working is easy!” I let him live in that fantasy momentarily because it wouldn’t be long before things got REAL! The best part for me was the group reflection after the assembly line experience. I asked the kids what they thought were the benefits of an assembly line and of employee roles. I also asked them to think of examples of real businesses and what various employee roles look like.
The kids were now hooked and eager to see what was in store for them. I told them that they were going to be creating their own businesses in a Second Grade Fair with our Kindergarten buddies as the consumers. They were beyond excited and ready to get to work…but they quickly realized that this process would take careful planning if we wanted our businesses to be successful.
And so our process began. We read books and watched videos about small businesses, goods & services, and producers & consumers. Next we made a list of the goods and services that would appeal to our audience at the fair. I let the kids think about this more overnight, and the next day they chose their business partners and agreed on a product. The next step was to write their business plans, design a model of their booths, and create a plan for acquiring supplies.
Now that their businesses had been thought through, we were ready to pitch our concepts to some investors in the “Shark Tank.” This experience was absolutely incredible! We invited three teachers on special assignment, TOSA’s, from our district to be the “Sharks.”
The kids wrote incredible pitches and found engaging ways to intrigue the Sharks to ensure that their business concepts would be approved (which they all were…phew!).
Immediately after, the kids got to work and made their business come to life by making business signs, decorating their booths, and creating their products.
Marshmallow Game credit to Brooke at Teach Outside the Box
Our final step was to advertise! All of my students used iMovie trailer to make commercials that would appeal to the Kindergarteners and we invited them over the week of the fair to watch our commercials. This really helped our little buddies understand what to expect at the fair. At this time we also gave our buddies their admission tickets.
The morning of the fair, we invited our families to our fair showcase. The parents were so amazed by their kids and couldn’t believe how many real-life skills they had developed throughout this experience. I felt extremely proud too and had to stop a moment to just take it all in!
At last it was time for our fair! The Kindergarten buddies brought their admission tickets and traded it in for 20 “Creek Bucks.”
Boy, oh boy, was this a memorable experience for these Kindergarteners too. They went back to their classrooms talking about the businesses they want to create when they are in second grade.
After our buddies left, my students had the opportunity to barter their goods and services. They traded slime for photos, and bucket toss games for origami. This might have been their favorite part. As you can imagine, my students counted their money over and over and over throughout the fair and we had a fascinating discussion about our profits, about what made these businesses successful and about what they would do differently the next time around. The final thing we did was write a “Yelp Review” for our businesses, which followed the OREO structure we use for opinion writing.
I have no doubt in my mind that this will be something the kids will always remember about second grade. I have seen them mature in their research skills, their writing abilities, their courage, and their willingness to take risks. But most importantly, they understand now the struggles, challenges, success and POWER of teamwork!
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Please tag me in any businesses that you create with your class!