Biz World–Real World Learning

The most exciting unit of the year has started!

For the second year, my fourth graders are participating in the coolest simulation EVER!  Last year was a learning experience, and my students STILL voted it the best part of the school year, so I am hoping that the improvements and revisions I have made THIS year will make it even better!  What is it?  Parts of speech?  Cell Structure?  Sentence types?

A drum roll, please . . .

Biz World!
What IS this?  Another teacher in my building found a little something online a few years ago where she got one of these kits for free–after looking at it, she realized the kit was more appropriate for fourth and fifth grades and donated it to me.  I am SO grateful to her for sharing!  Over the next 3 weeks, my students will be going through the process of working with a team to create a business-
*from job applications to interview
*from logo design to filming a commercial
*from meeting with a venture capitalist to creating a prototype
*from incorporating to selling shares of stock
*from manufacturing to sales.
And the most amazing thing?  It’s all completely developmentally appropriate!  I will share out several blog posts about how this unit unfolds, but if you have anything to do with economics, teamwork, or finances in your upper elementary classroom–this is a “must try”!  I know they have other kits for older students as well.  Here is their website if you want to check it out!   
What is this all about?  I will be dividing my class into “companies”, each of which will be planning and opening a Friendship Bracelet company!  They will do everything from creating a business plan to actually MAKING a “store front” to sell their unique bracelets to classmates!  We use “Biz Bucks” as our currency and learn more about economics than any textbook could ever teach.
Practicing our eye contact!

“Tell me about yourself . . . “

Pulling off old name tags to make way for the new “Employee Labels”!

Students coming in and finding their new jobs posted on their desks!

Vice President of Finance!  Just what I wanted!

Brainstorming within the companies–what makes a good company?  What makes a good employee?

Starting to brainstorm possible company names (organized by the Vice President of Marketing)

The first “Biz Bucks” were passed out for returning the parent letter!

So far we have . . . 
*brainstormed what makes a successful business and successful employee
*learned about the importance of presenting yourself well with eye contact and a firm handshake
*talked about different roles within companies and how the most effective businesses work as teams–and how people with different skills might do well at different jobs
*used a list of interview questions to practice interviewing
*filled out job applications
*did “real” interviews with a local businessperson . . . we wore our shirts and ties and everything!
*formed our companies based on the jobs we were hired to do
*started brainstorming company names and logos
As you can see, we’ve had a busy first few days!  Stay tuned and see where we go next with this simulation.  This is a FANTASTIC way to end the year–the students are engaged, are learning, and are applying everything we have worked on this year!  Just thought you might want to check it out!

NOTE:  There are many fundraisers led by teachers around the world hoping to raise money for the victims in Oklahoma.  Please consider donating to one of them–let’s make a difference.