Students from Mamaroneck High School’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), led by Ben Silverstein, recently introduced a six session business mini-course to two Murray Avenue Elementary School fifth grade classes. The young students participated in a series of interactive and hands-on activities which led to the development and implementation of their own simulated business model right in the classroom.
Each class worked together to create a single simulated business. For both classes, the children were very excited as they debated their new business ideas and narrowed their options before voting on a final choice.
Ben Silverstein chose two students for each business concept who then stood in front of the class and explained why their preferred business was the one the class should select as the project. This provided a forum for students to experience public speaking in front of their peers and to use selling skills and reasoning to convince classmates to vote for their favorite.
In Ms. Dolan’s class, the children came up with five new business concepts and then voted to create a bakery.
For Ms. Elkin’s class, the children decided to open up an ice cream shop named Smiley’s, with a slogan of “Pick it, Lick it, Love it!”
In the following sessions, the children created promotions, advertisements, budgets, locations, and product offerings. The final session was a simulated store operation, within the classroom, in which the students conducted simulated transactions and had to addresss typical issues a retailer encounters on a daily basis. For example, what if there is not enough change in the register for a customer who presents a $100 bill.
As a reward for the children, on the last day, FBLA provided little ice cream sundaes for each child and a certificate of achievement.
The course focused on a range of topics, including: how to start a business; advertising and slogans; and budgeting. It also provided students with new insight into the challenges that face today’s entrepreneurs.
The curriculum used in each session was developed by the FBLA chapter based on input from local business leaders, and it was received enthusiastically by the students who had a chance to test their own business savvy.
Emma Goldstein, a fifth grader in Ms. Dolan’s class, commented, “There are many steps to do before you start a business.”
Kristian Najdoski in Ms. Elkins’ class added, “Business is very hard and has many problems so think before you start a business.”
The high school students enjoyed the experience as much as the fifth graders. Ben Silverstein remarked, “The kids were so excited about every session, and really found a new appreciation for the workforce they come into contact with every day, at school, around town, and especially at home. Their ability to grasp business issues, create slogans, develop advertising, and resolve some real issues that businesses encounter today was very impressive. I think we had as much fun as they did.”
The FBLA chapter’s next step is to integrate all of the students’ hard work into a comprehensive and detailed report that will be submitted for competition at the 2010 NY State FBLA Conference in Rochester this March.
Ben hopes to take this American Enterprise project all the way to FBLA’s National Conference, where he earned a third place trophy for the chapter in Anaheim last summer. If he wins a trophy, Ben promised to come back and let the fifth graders share in the project’s success.
“I’m really glad that I had the chance to do this,” said Ben. “I’m going to do my best to make these kids proud and bring them home a trophy.” A number of excited fifth graders will be cheering him on.
Pic: 158 – Ms. Dolan’s Fifth Grade Class showing their Certificates for Completing the FBLA Business 6 Session Course.
Joe Punnapuzha, is chapter reporter for the Mamaroneck High School FBLA.