How might we take risks to develop new goods and services to start a business?
That was the driving question behind grade 5’s recent economics unit, culminating in a Business Fair, showcasing original products for friends and family.
Inspired by the book, The Lemonade War, by Jacqueline Davies, students learned how to run an effective business using different techniques to succeed such as underselling, franchising, partnerships, joint ventures, and more. Throughout their journey to become an entrepreneur, students studied concepts and terms including: goods, needs, wants, services, supply and demand, scarcity, and the economy.
“This unit teaches the kids so much, including how entrepreneurs formulate effective and thriving businesses,” said Head of Grade 5 Emily Edwards, who worked alongside her team of teachers to bring the Business Fair back after a two year hiatus.
For their Fair, students worked in groups, looking at the community around them for needs. They then determined whether they could create a good or service that could fill that void.
In their small groups, students created an idea, modeled a business plan, prototyped their product, wrote elevator pitches, designed logos, studied their competition, and workshopped jingles and commercials.
Not only did they build a business model and product from scratch, but they did market research and studied elements of their idea in order to make it successful. For example, students studied the science behind logos and learned what makes a successful brand.
The young entrepreneurs examined their business models in detail, noting what capital resources they would need to create their product and what the unit price would be, informing how much the good or service would cost. For their presentations, students were required to have an elevator pitch, a high-res prototype, and a tri-fold board, explaining all of the elements, research, and product information.
One week before the final Business Fair, a group of MVXperts came to the classrooms to hear students elevator pitches and give feedback on their products.
“This was amazing,” one MVXpert said. “The students were so prepared, well-spoken, and their ideas were inspired.”
With the feedback from their experts, students went back to work. They adjusted their products, made final edits, and were ready for their final presentation at the Business Fair.
Products ranged from Soapify, a product that makes soap bars less slippery, to Fruity Refresh, a reusable straw with flavoring inside. There was Creative Case, allowing you to design your own phone case, and Hydro Case, a cell phone case that waterproofed your phone. And who could forget Heat Seat, a folding chair with heating capabilities and Think Outside the Box, a journal to foster creativity, and so, so many more.
“I like that we got to express ourselves and be creative with what we chose,” said grade 5 student Janie Atkinson. “The Business Fair was fun and I liked to see other people’s products, too.
“It’s so cool how different minds make different things. It was great because people would walk up to you and ask you questions that you had never thought of before.”
Imaginations ran rampant throughout this journey, and it was amazing to see the students’ work come to life. Following the conclusion of their economics unit, some of the groups have even discussed continuing to work together, trying to make their products and reality.
“It was incredible to see how quickly they were able to develop their ideas and present prototypes and business plans in just two weeks.” Mrs. Edwards added. “It was also great to see their collaboration grow. Students went from an individual idea and synthesized their thoughts to create an idea as a group.”
From our youngest Mustangs to our oldest, all Mount Vernon students are prepped to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders through real-world work. Job well done, grade 5!