Two years ago, fourth grade used the BizWorld materials to teach our students how to form friendship bracelet companies. Bizworld is an international organization that strives to
Provide fun, project-based programs that promote financial responsibility, leadership and teamwork skills for elementary and middle school students across the country and around the globe.
The four companies per class named their company, applied for specific jobs, created logos and slogans, wrote and filmed commercials, designed and made about 60 bracelets per company. They then held a bazaar where they sold their bracelets to other students. This was actually my first PBL experience. It was the capstone of a series of courses offered through PBLU and the Buck Institute for Education (BIE). I made numerous rookie mistakes but hopefully none of the kids noticed. The bazaar was a major hit. The companies all sold out of bracelets and they each showed a profit.
In preparation for the 2015-16 school year, our fourth graders read The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies as a part of their summer reading. So, based on the BizWorld model, we created a Lemonade War PBL. The driving question was, “How can we, as future entrepreneurs, create and successfully operate a lemonade company?” Companies were formed and named. Recipes were researched. Using the Numbers app, individual ledgers were kept. The drama teacher worked with the companies to write and video commercials using the DoInk green screen app (click here to view some of the commercials).
We held our own lemonade war outside. Each Vice President of Marketing paid their company’s rent based on where they chose to place their stand (shady spots had the highest rent). The VP of Finance set up for crowds of kids to purchase their fresh squeezed lemonade (one was made with honey). Our customers (other classes) were given BizBucks (the currency for this project) to spend. They each had enough money to purchase two or three cups of lemonade but not enough to visit all four companies.
When the last cup of lemonade had been sold and the tables were all cleared, the fourth graders were tired but satisfied. As we debriefed and reflected, the students were able to relate what they had learned to future experiences. Some shared conversations that they had had with their parents about companies their parents owned or worked for. The kids remarked on the amount of communication and collaboration that was necessary for their company to be successful. When the VPs of Finance had made their last entries in the Numbers app registry, the company Presidents announced their final numbers. Each company, after paying back their bank loans and their investors, made a healthy profit. Their success had so much to do with team work and cooperation and so little to do with lemonade.