Where can you find stores like Pie4U, Spin Land or Wild Rabbit Bookmarks? Box City, of course!
Each fall our 5th graders embark on an entrepreneurial journey to design and start a small business. This unit of study provides students the opportunity to think critically and mathematically, problem-solve, apply creativity and develop an innovative idea. To begin the 6-week economics study, students are inspired by watching “Caine’s Arcade,” the mini-documentary that chronicles a young boy’s creative adventure. They also get invaluable input from parents in our community who have business expertise. Each 5th grader then begins the process of developing a business plan around a good or service and creating a storefront from which to carry out the business. Beyond close work with their classroom teachers, students interface with various other members of our school community as part of this learning process. Their research with our librarian includes studying about supply vs. demand and advertising in the media. Serious deliberations are entered into with our Director of Finance and business office staff when each student meets individually with these “landlords” of Box City to negotiate a rental contract for their store’s space. At home, students are charged with raising (pretend) financial capital for rent and overhead costs by doing chores. In the event that students end up with insufficient funds, a Shark Tank option is available for them to pitch their idea to a panel and request additional funding.
On the day of the culminating Entrepreneur Fair, our LS multi-use room is transformed into a store-filled city where other students and staff can shop (with pretend money) at 5th graders’ stores, and experience the creativity of these budding business owners. As closure, students figure their gross income, calculate their net profits, identify areas of challenge and success during the project and, most importantly, reflect on the learning they’ll carry forward.