Thursday, May 20, 2021

Entrepreneurs in Action

 by Kitty Davis, Greenville Elementary Principal

Mrs. Sherry Flora, Mrs. Ashley Miller, Mrs. Lori Duncan, Mrs. Lois Britsch, and Ms. Brittany Voke are in the process of teaching young fourth grade entrepreneurs. Students will have the opportunity to experience a life lesson as well as put fourth grade social studies and math (economic) standards into action by first learning about “opportunity cost.” Essentially, there is only so much money one has (scarcity). Due to this, one makes a choice; opportunity cost is an item one has to forgo because in real life, you simply can’t have it all. With the “opportunity cost sundae activity” each student receives $.50 in classroom money. There is vanilla ice cream and nine different toppings from which to choose. Here the dilemma extra scoop of ice cream will take all of one’s money- not leaving any funds for toppings. 

In this case, the toppings are the opportunity cost. If students decide to get toppings (priced $.05, $.10, $.15, and $.25) now the extra scoop becomes the opportunity cost. To complicate the decision, there are  also incentives involved- “buy one topping/get one topping” and “quick sale/reduced price  toppings” (with the cost drastically reduced) which could motivate one to make a choice that may not necessarily be their preference- just as in real life. After the sundae building, students enjoy their dessert while discussing why they chose (or what motivated them) to build their sundae in such a manner. A reflection paper is completed on what learners would have chosen had there been “unlimited funds,” equal topping price, and expenses (having to purchase a bowl and spoon). Additionally, students draw their ultimate sundae and discuss its total price based upon the classroom topping prices. 

After this economics exercise, learners put their economic vocabulary into action as they experience how a business works from product to profit. With the help of school approved youtube videos, students will generate “kid friendly” items to sell. With product limitations due to Covid, students will have to be clever with not only choosing their product but marketing their inventory. Items will range in cost from $.25 to $2.00. Popular past items include: pet rocks, squish/stress balls, paper airplanes, origami decorations, bracelets, hair ties, and decorative  magnets. A “division of labor” will also be experienced as specified homerooms will design a power point to advertise the products in the extended learning areas.

The real fun begins with conducting the sales, calculating the profits, and determining loss (if any). Due to gathering restrictions, students will sell to one designated homeroom at a time. Unlike true  businesses, students will vote to determine which local charity (Humane Society, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls club, or Shawnee Prairie’s Raptor Birds Program) will benefit from their dividends. The charity chosen will be invited to school to receive the donation and meet the young entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, last year, due to school closure this joint project did not take place. However, in 2019, over $1000.00 dollars was raised for the Darke County Humane Society. Mrs. Flora smiled as she  discussed the impact of this project, “This event is a tradition...maybe even legendary...brothers and sisters who have participated as buyers and sellers from years previous share stories of this beloved event with younger siblings. The anticipation level is so high every year. It is very  possible that this year’s participants were recipients of an item from this very project years ago.” 

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