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3-5 | Social Studies | Real World Application or Field Study
Station WNEO in Ohio
My Classroom Innovation
My fourth grade students have enjoyed being immersed in a real world creative, hands-on soap unit. This unit naturally encompassed many important economic principles as the learning experiences unfolded. The students have responsibly worked as a team creating melt and pour soaps, slicing and packaging their soaps for sale, designing a label based on their selected name “The Clean Team”, and pricing their soaps. They have also been in charge of advertising and marketing their products by developing signs and creating and delivering announcements throughout the school. The students happily displayed their soap creations for sale and enjoyed being recognized as “The Clean Team” members. The students developed a great sense of pride in their achievement as they donated their profits to a local charity that helps less fortunate people within our own community. The students also donated some needed jump ropes to their gym teacher. Toward the conclusion of our soap unit, I utilized a PBS 9th-12th grade economic Social Studies lesson entitled “What type of business should I start?” I briefly defined sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. We discussed some local businesses and talked about their type of ownership. Students listed advantages and disadvantages of each of the types of ownership. After a discussion, each student was asked to explain the business ownership they would prefer and why. This lesson was valuable because it provided business ownership choices. In addition to providing these students with a unique educational experience, I also feel that character development was seamlessly integrated. I feel the active involvement in this extensive unit was a priceless experience that will have a lasting effect on these students for years to come. They “lived” the economic principles in a fun, educational way. I hope these students continue to see the importance of helping others in need.
How Students were Engaged
The students participated in many hands-on activities relating to their soap business. They watched a few short videos on the soap process and listened to tips and suggestions in order to achieve the best results with their soap. In this unit, the learning opportunities just automatically presented themselves! I acted as facilitator but much of the discussion was initiated by members of the group. It was amazing to hear the conversations between the students that revolved around economics concepts! The students initially targeted adults as their customers but then decided to produce soapsicles, popsicles made of soap, to attract students as consumers of their products. Another important lesson the students learned was the importance of time management. We were on a tight two hour schedule to create the soaps and get the area cleaned. I was very proud of each student for their willingness to help from start to finish! Cleaning up is never a joy but these students enthusiastically chipped in and got the job done! Each student has taken great pride in creating a well developed portfolio of their work on a flash drive as a memento. The students created folders and organized information so they could easily access it. The students learned more ways to utilize technology and in turn, make their lives easier. As the students came to class, their enthusiasm to begin work was refreshing! They were interested and actively involved in every phase of this unit. They also cooperated with each other and just pitched in wherever they were needed. This soap unit was definitely filled with many economic principles as well as a variety of academic content standards in a fun, educational approach. I loved the entire experience and so did my students!!!!! This unit made learning fun!
PBS Program/Content Used
What type of business should I start?