After learning how to write a basic business plan, second graders across the Colonial School District recently created, marketed and sold products to other children in their schools at an event called Business Day.
"A business plan is where you describe your product, how much it costs and why people would want to buy it," explained Joseph DeGuzman, a second grader at Conshohocken Elementary School (CE).
The children worked in teams to brainstorm ideas, compile a list of materials and produce their products. Student groups created jewelry, slime, paper action figures, origami, decorative pencils, designer bookmarks and more.
"We sold those triangular erasers except we wrote faces on them and put stickers and stuff on them. My group called them Bobs, my brother's friend made them up," added Joseph. "You could customize them, they're fun to play with, and they can also erase. We made sets that go together and used velcro to make Backpack Bobs."
At CE, each group needed to create an inventory of 30 of their products to sell for when the kindergarten students were ready to "shop" on Business Day.
"It takes a lot of work. I thought we could do this in a day, but it really took like a week or two," said CE second grader Ivy Piersol. "My group painted Pet Rocks. Even though we made a bunch of rocks, and we really liked them, it was actually fun selling them."
Part of the second grade social studies curriculum, Business Day is an example of Project Based Learning, where students apply new skills in real-world applications — often incorporating more than one subject area, as well as The Four Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. The Business Day project includes math through pricing and using money, plus concepts from a recent English language arts unit that exposed the children to persuasive writing.
"I thought the coolest thing was making the commercials," said Courtland Jackson, second grade teacher at CE. "I think the children had fun writing their scripts and acting."
In the end, all of the second grade groups at CE sold out of their products — a sign that Business Day was a success.
"The children loved it, and they worked hard on every part of it," said Mr. Jackson. "Exposing them to entrepreneurship early can give them the hope, motivation and confidence to maybe have their own business one day. You have students who are starting online businesses in high school, the earlier the exposure the better."