One of the last units in fourth grade every year is the business unit. Students are required to come up with a handmade product to be sold to other students in the school. All production is done in a classroom workshop, so it's all student made.
The unit is designed to have several goals: learning about finances of a small business (expenses, sales, profits), the marketing side of things and also the operations side of production. As students have gotten into the operations side, there's been excitement, a little nervousness and much noise too! But the learning that goes on is so cool.
There have been several awarenesses, even in the first few days, that are unexpected, valuable lessons. Below are just a few of these awarenesses that have improved production (that adults might have already known, but that students are just becoming aware of):
1. painting many mixing sticks at once instead of one at a time
2. separating beads into different colors ahead of time
3. using water to remove wrappers from crayons
4. cutting out as many 6" strips from material as possible
5. cutting ribbons of 8" all at once instead one at a time
6. sketching original drawings all on one piece of paper before copying
7. creating a template to use for multiple versions of a story in Word.
© 2015 Peter J. Wilson
Peter Wilson teaches fourth grade at University Lake School, in Hartland, WI.