One Woodward Elementary School second-grade class has learned what it takes to create a profitable business.
Suzette Ryan, second-grade teacher at Woodward, wanted her students to take a more hands-on approach during their economics unit.
She came up with the idea for students to create their own business, produce a product and sell it to fellow students.
In the process of doing this, Ryan said, students learned about supply and demand and the differences between wants and needs. They also saw connections to the school’s Leader in Me program as they were working, she said.
“It was really a cross-curricula project,” she said. “We covered economics, leadership and participating in the community. It was a win-win all around.”
Students opened a store called BowMark, where they sold bows and bookmarks made entirely of colored duct tape.
They were responsible for advertising, which included posters, announcements to other students about the sale in the morning, and even word-of-mouth.
“A week before the sale, girls started wearing the bows in their hair and talking them up to people during lunch and recess,” Ryan said.
In addition to creating hype for their product, two boys changed the words to the viral hit song Gangnam Style and sang about their business during the morning announcements.
“Students were so excited about the bows that I even had the boys begging me to wear them,” Ryan said. “We had fourth-grade boys wearing colored bowties all around the school.”
The students sold the bows during the week of Feb. 18, which had only three school days. They ended up almost selling out of some of the more-popular bows.
Students were required to sign up to man the table for one day during their recess time. They were not required to make the product, but Ryan said she had no problem getting students to volunteer to make them.
She said many students brought in their own duct tape, and Ryan purchased some for them to use. However, it was getting pricey, she said.
“I went into Michaels on U.S. (Route) 23 and asked if they would be willing to donate,” she said. “The manager donated seven rolls of colored duct tape, which really helped offset some of our costs.”
Students sold small bows and bookmarks for a quarter and large bows and bookmarks for 50 cents. In total, they earned $137.55.
Ryan said she asked a guidance counselor to prepare a presentation about local charities the students could donate their earnings to, and the class voted to donate to the Delaware Humane Society.
Students then presented the money to the humane society as a class March 8. They also received a behind-the-scenes tour and were allowed to play with the animals two hours before it opened to the public.
“This was such a great project, both economically and socially,” Ryan said. “The students learned so much on so many different levels, which made this such a valuable project.”