The ability to quickly gain new knowledge and adapt to change will be critical for succeeding in jobs in the future. That’s what a 2017 report from the Institute for the Future claims. And that’s one of the reasons behind the PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs®program, which allows students to gain new skills by creating and running their own business ventures.
Jobs aside, PowerPlay is a fun, multi-disciplinary program that teaches skills in math, art, language, research, and presentation.
Ottawa Christian School Grade 5 teacher Mrs. Lafontaine used the program this past school year to help teach students not only about running a business, but also about giving back to the community. As part of their business plan, students chose a charity to which they will donate a percentage of their profits. Since its inception in 1999, $250,000 has been donated to charity through the PowerPlay program.
PowerPlay provides a business planning kit at a cost of $5. Each Grade 5 student took out a $5 loan from OCS to pay for the kit, which included instructions and templates to complete the required steps.Once students decided on a product to develop, they conducted market research to determine product demand and price, created marketing and advertising materials, and developed a business plan. In the business plan, students projected how many units they would sell and calculated the cost of goods sold, break-even point, and profit.
Students developed a wide variety of products and created marketing materials for them. Grade 5 student, Logan, made wooden coasters engraved with unique designs using a wood burner. He donated ten percent of his profits to an animal shelter. His brother Ethan createdg sponge balls out of pieces of sponge held together with elastic bands. They can be used for throwing, as fidgets, or even to clean a counter top. Big Sky Ranch, a rescue shelter for abused animals, received a portion of his profits.
Along with sponge balls and coasters, class member Olivia made slime, packaged it for sale in clear plastic containers. Her favorite part of the project was the research – surveying students in other classes to find out how many would be interested in buying slime, what colors they would prefer, and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Her classmate Naomi created stress balloons that you squeeze to relieve stress. She created four types of balloons with different fillings in each, which gives them different textures. Naomi donated a percentage of her profits to Sit With Me, a dog rescue charity.
To complete their business venture, students sold their products to family and friends the Celebration of Learning this past April. It was well attended and most of the students sold out!