Experience the roles of producer, distributor,
and consumer of goods
Understand advertising and the role it plays in
Collect, organize and represent information over
In this 4 week unit, primary students will work in groups of 4-5 to form a business, create,
market & sell their product, and track their expenses and profits.
(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the following
activities/standards will appear in the video clips used.)
Technology Standards (NETS) Performance Indicators from http://cnets.iste
· loan application
· application for storefront
· health department agreement
· payment schedule
· Partners fill out
paperwork to receive a bank loan for their “storefront” & materials to make their
· A business name,
logo, and slogan are created, and business cards are designed on the computer.
· Businesses are open in the afternoon
once a week for approx 20 minutes. Students take turns buying & selling
· Afterward, partners reflect on the
success of their sale, and decide whether to make the same product next week and/or adjust
their price if necessary.
Social Studies VII Early Grades: a, b, d, g,
· Assemble materials for making selected
· Set up spreadsheets for each
business’s record of profits.
· During math
centers, partners create their products (a food item such as finger jello, crackers &
cheese, jelly sandwiches, popcorn, etc)
· Partners decide the amount to make
and price to charge.
· Students use calculators to aid in
calculating purchases, to verify their total profits and each partner’s share of the profit.
· Records are kept of weekly
debits/credits and profits.
· Businesses use a spreadsheet and chart
to illustrate their profits.
Math 5, 6
· Videotape TV food ads
aimed at kids
· Gather samples of
food ads from newspapers, magazines, radio & Web sites
· Create an evaluation
· Business partners
create a banner for their store front on the computer.
· Students view advertising via taped ads
on the VCR and selected ads from newspapers, magazines, and the Internet and note on
evaluation form how many times product is shown, or named. Watch for slogans.
· Students choose 1 medium to create their
· Partners present their ads to the
class. Students use the evaluation piece to give feedback.
English Language Arts 5
TOOLS & RESOURCES:
Classroom resources consisted of one calculator for each business, two PC computers with
Internet connection which share a printer, a TV/VCR connected to a computer monitor via a TV/PC
converter, a videocamera, and an audio cassette player with a microphone. Storefronts
consisted of a table for each business with a banner taped to the front proclaiming the name of the
business, and 3 chairs behind for the sellers.
Spreadsheet (such as MS Works). Available: http://www.microsoft.com
Graphics program with banner, poster, and business card capabilities
Such as: KidPix Deluxe. Available: http://www.mattelinteractive.com
Other materials needed are newspapers, magazines, recordings of radio, TV, and Web ads, teacher
created loan application, application for storefront, health department agreement, and a payment
schedule for each business.
Has difficulty with team
decisions, prefers to work alone
Joins conversation, goes
along with team decisions
Leads discussion, allows
team to decide as a group
Missing several required
Contains name of product,
picture of product, slogan, price, name of business
Contains all components with
creativity and uniqueness
Price reflects little
thought of profit needed
Price reflects thought of
profit needed and some flexibility
Price reflects flexibility
Has difficulty with
assigning proper amount of money to price
Able to count out
appropriate amounts of money
Able to count out money and
give appropriate change
Is beginning to understand
concept of supply & demand
Understands concept of
supply & demand
Uses concept of supply &
demand in decision making
Marilyn Western, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
Based on a unit by Carlene Shortz,
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools
TIMELINE & COURSE OUTLINE:
This activity is a four week piece of a year long unit on Communities. Students in the video
session are involved in the third of the four weeks.
In our Community unit, students
take a walking field trip to the downtown area to interview community leaders (for example, the
mayor, city treasurer, police chief, banker, etc). This information is the basis of our
classroom community. Students fill out applications for classroom jobs, receive weekly
paychecks which they cash at the classroom bank, pay rent on their chairs, and have various
opportunities to spend their hard-earned classroom cash.
This is the third year I have run the Classroom Community, the second year for the
Businesses. I learned a lot in the first year of this experience, such as setting aside half
of each business’s products until the first sellers had their turn at buying. Things are
much more streamlined this second year.
The first year of the project, I did not have KidPix Deluxe available, and advertisements were
drawn posters. The quality was poor – students didn’t seem to understand the importance of
using color, large lettering, or pictures of their products. After looking for elements of ads
in various media, students’ advertisements were colorful, interesting, and “3 dimensional”,
that is, they used audio and video enhancements. Their creativity was astounding! We’re
still humming the trail mix song one group made up and audio recorded. In this particular
instance, technology definitely enhanced the original unit.
Real life is emphasized in this Community unit, and students are very familiar with tv, video
and radio ads. This experience gave them a behind-the-scenes look at the why and how of
marketing, producing, and distributing. A “hidden” agenda is getting students to work
together as a team, which is not always easy at this grade level. Partners learned to listen
to everyone’s ideas, and to work together to make creative products.
of the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model which were highlighted in the video:
This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the elements from the
Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model that are described below will appear in the
video clips used.)
Principles of Learning:
Primary students learn best by being actively involved in their own learning.
As you can see in the video, students are working in teams to produce their own form of
advertising. Although there are leaders in each group,
students have had practice in listening and accepting others' ideas and suggestions.
All team members are actively involved in their learning. Students are also actively involved in the buying and selling of their products.
They eagerly take turns and work together as sellers, individually as buyers.
These projects were selected specifically for their real-world familiarity. Students have heard
and seen radio, TV, and newspaper ads, and have a good idea of what the end result looks like.
What they are learning here is the amount of behind the scenes work that goes into each of
these products. They are experiencing the enjoyment of choosing a project to put their own
creativity to work. They also have a distinct interest
in the selling of their own products which they have made earlier in the day, as well as the buying
of what interests them. They have earned the money they
Offering students a choice in selecting their projects gives them the motivation and enjoyment
of working in a stimulating and rewarding area of study. Because
students are working in teams, they have the support and models for pushing their limits in trying
something new. Needless to say, food is a Compelling
Situation for any student!
Primary students are famous for their imaginations. The
videotape shows a great example of imagining their classroom as a radio or TV station or a newspaper
office. Basing their stores on real-life models,
students are responsible for creating their own storefronts, business cards, advertising, and their
products to sell. As you can see in the video, they
find the store placement easy to use and encouraging for both buying and selling.
Feedback is given by both the teacher and teammates in the video.
You'll note positives given first, then gentle suggestions to think about other options.
Choice is left up to the team. Individuals are
also encouraged to "think ahead" to what may happen as they make their choices.
Buyers and sellers also make suggestions to each other and team time for reflection is
In this video, you'll see examples of Information Processing.
This is the fourth buy/sell activity in a series of five.
After each adventure, students have time to discuss with their teammates the successes of the
store and improvements that they might make for the next round. Teams are encouraged to weigh the
merits of selling the same product for the same price or selecting a new product, changing the price
or size of portions, etc. They have set up goals at the beginning of the project and are encouraged
to evaluate their progress towards that goal. Students
are Interpreting the basic assignment - to advertise their product in some way - in some form of
real-world form of advertising.
They are not only communicating their product's wonderfulness, they are also practicing their Communication
skills between team members and their audience. Creativity
is emphasized in their activities.
The advertising activity shows students creating their own radio, TV, or newspaper advertising.
ELA Standards 3, 4, 5, 12
Students work on measuring skills in creating their products, calculating product prices to make
a little profit, but not overpricing, and problem solving how to cut their product into a particular
number of pieces. Math Standards Number &
Operations, Geometry, Measurement, and Problem Solving
Students work on pricing their products according to their own needs – how much they need to
make in each session to repay their start-up loan. They
also take into account the competition's pricing. When
selling time is almost over and they still have product to sell, they confer to decide what to do to
make their product more tantalizing. Economic Standards 1, 2, 4,
7, 8, 9, 13
Thinking Together and Making Meaning
Power Sharing and Empowerment
Civil Involvement with Others
Working as a team is a very important part of primary learning.
In this video, you'll see teams that have at least one higher level reader and one social
leader. The class has had many opportunities to work in
teams such as these and have become quite skilled in listening to each other's ideas, being flexible
in their suggestions (or as flexible as 6 and 7 year olds can be), and comfortable with sharing
responsibility. Our multiage program emphasizes the individuality of students and their skills -
everyone is an expert in something - as well as the family atmosphere - we all watch out for each
This year, I have few competent readers in my class. Instead of letting students select
their own partners for their businesses, I assigned students to each business based on reading
level, writing level, gender, age (1st or 2nd grader), and personality.
This brought equity to the businesses, and every student was able to bring their unique expertise to
Evolution of Activity:
This activity has evolved from simply reading stories about community workers and
job responsibilities to actively participating in a mini-society within the classroom. Each
year seems to add a new element to the unit, from interviewing local community leaders and looking
for patterns in hiring, job responsibilities, and skills needed, to producing commercials which are
aired on the school Intranet. Students are being given more freedom to make choices, to work
as team members, and to live with decisions they have made.
(Learning activity format adapted from National
Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum
& Technology http://cnets.iste.org/index2.html
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Last updated Thursday,
December 14, 2000