SAN DIMAS/LA VERNE – The Shull Elementary School cafeteria, transformed into a marketplace of ideas, was loud with the machinations of commerce as fourth-grade students hawked everything from homemade jewelry and painted rocks to daisy chains and origami jumping frogs during its end-of-the-year Business Day, held June 2.
The Shull Business Day is a twice-yearly event that encourages students to create their own business plans, then use play money they have accumulated over the school year to purchase, trade or bargain with their classmates and their families. Students earn money throughout the year by completing assignments and displaying good behavior, depositing their earnings in a classroom bank account only they and their teachers can access.
Students are encouraged to follow the law of supply and demand. If they have a product that is popular and selling well, they are free to increase the price; if their product is not selling well, they can drop the price.
“The idea of Business Day is to educate our kids about money management and encourage them to be entrepreneurs,” Shull fourth-grade teacher Susan Hsiung said. “Students can come up with any business plan they like. It could be a store, it could be a game. Many students collaborate on a plan and go into business together. It’s an extremely popular event, and the students really try to outdo each other.”
With business names like The Two Musketeers, Good Vibes and Keychain Charm, Shull students pulled out all the stops trying to find the right combination of product and salesmanship. Many student entrepreneurs offered games of skill, such as Mario Toss and Space Blast, with winners getting prizes. Others raffled off Game Stop gift cards and other collectibles.
Some business plans were hatched in the students’ own backyards. “Noey and Zoey’s Petting Zoo” featured a pet chicken that Shull fourth-grader Noemme Guerrero brought from home. Teaming with her classmate Zoey Kirk, the pair charged $300 to hold the chicken and an additional $100 to take a photo with the animal.
“I wasn’t sure what kind of business I wanted to have, and my mom asked me if I wanted to do a petting zoo,” Guerrero said. “At home, we have three chickens, two ducks, two dogs and a cat. I asked my teacher and principal if we could bring one of my chickens and they said yes.”
Business was good for the petting zoo. Noemme’s mother, Viviana Guerrero, estimated that the girls took in more than $5,000 in play money, even though one part of their business plan – feeding the chicken – did not pan out, due to the finicky nature of the chicken, who only eats when it is hungry.
“I love what the school is doing to teach the children about business,” Viviana said. “Shull does a great job finding activities that resonate with the students, and always find a way to make extra time so that the kids can learn their lessons.”
BUSD_BUSINESSDAY1: Shull Elementary School fourth-graders Noemme Guerrero and Zoey Kirk displayed their entrepreneurial spirit by creating “Noey and Zoey’s Petting Zoo” for the school’s Business Day, held June 2. Guerrero brought a chicken from home to share with her classmates, who paid for the opportunity to hold or take a photo with it. Shull’s Business Day encourages students to become entrepreneurs and learn about money management.
BUSD_BUSINESSDAY2: Shull Elementary School fourth-graders Erika Putt and Reagan Gonzalez are all smiles as they count their earnings from selling homemade bracelets during Business Day, held June 2. Business Day is a twice-yearly event that encourages fourth-grade students to create their own business plan then use play money they have accumulated over the school year to purchase, trade or bargain with their classmates and their families.