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Student entrepreneurs experience business, calculate profit, and develop an understanding of “economic growth” as settlers in a new community in this multidisciplinary activity


Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Math, Social Studies  



Title – Newcomers Settle
By – Briana Westenberger
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Math, Language Arts, Computers & Internet
Grade Level – 3


    Goods, services, entrepreneurs, profit, and the economy


  • Textbook ( optional )
    ( Houghton Mifflin Social Studies – Communities Chapter 5 – Newcomers Settle )
  • Folders (one per student)
  • Businesses (one per student)
    (Example: blacksmith, baker, farmer)
  • Information about each business
    • Profit Scenarios
    • Overall profit slip (one per student)
    • Play money (bills and coins)
    • Envelopes (pocketbooks for money)
    • Pencils (one per student)

Description of Activity:

  • Note 1: This activity corresponds with the Houghton Mifflin Social Studies series, Chapter 5 – Newcomers Settle. I developed the activity when I found my students struggling with the concept of profit. In order for them to understand the objective about economic growth, they first needed to develop the concept of entrepreneurship, businesses, and profit.
  • Begin by focusing on entrepreneurs and businesses. Have the students name entrepreneurs and businesses in the world today. Develop a list of present day entrepreneurs and businesses on the board. ( Read through Lesson 1 and compare and contrast the change in time by looking at the past and present businesses in the world .) You could also focus on the businesses within your community.
  • After students show a clearer understanding of entrepreneurs and businesses, assign them each a business where they are in charge of figuring out the profit. Each student should receive a folder with a welcome letter in it, a description of the service they provide, and a profit scenario slip. You can also add a picture or two that relates to the service the student is pretending to provide. An example of ” Bubba’s Blacksmith Shop ” is below.
    Welcome Letter

    Welcome to St. Louis, the City of Opportunities! Bubba’s Black Smith Shop just opened up for business, and we need someone like you to run the store. You will need to keep track of the stores daily profit. Have a root-a-tootin time! Remember, if you have any questions, phone the head office in Wisconsin. The lady in charge is Ms. Westenberger, and she would be happy to answer your questions or concerns.

    See ya later folks!

    Description of Service

    A blacksmith creates objects from iron or steel by forging the metal. They use tools to hammer, bend, and cut. Some objects that a blacksmith can make include: gates, grills, railings, light fixtures, and horseshoes.

    Profit Scenario Slip #1


    You sold one set of horseshoes today to Mr. Fred. He paid you $10 for the horseshoes. It cost you $5 to make the horseshoes. What is your profit?

    Selling price – $______
    Cost to make – $______
    Profit – $_____
  • To help each student understand their business, and also get acquainted with the other businesses, give them the opportunity to read their business information aloud to the class. Once everyone has read the basic information, allow them to read their profit situation.

    Note 2: The situations that I developed included one of their classmates, so as each entrepreneur read their situation for the day, everyone else listened intently.

  • Provide each student with a new profit scenario each day. Provide 10 minutes a day to complete the activity. When students finish their problem, they hand their folder in to the head office (teacher). During prep time, go through and make sure that each entrepreneur correctly answered the problem. If students correctly figure out the profit they made for the day, pay them that amount in play money. For example: the blacksmith made a $5 profit for the day, so they earned $5 in play money. Students can keep their earnings in their “Pocketbook” envelope. The students have the opportunity to earn an overall profit of $20.00, but the problems get harder later in the week!

    Note 3: I found this project to be relevant to the students’ lives because many of their parents/guardians work, and this gave them an idea of what their parents/guardians do on a daily/weekly basis. The project also taught the students how to manage their money.

  • At the end of the week, reward the students for their hard effort. Throw them an ice cream party! As always, there is a catch! The students must use their earnings to buy their ice cream and the toppings that they want. Some students might have earned more money then others, but all of the students had a chance to earn the same amount as their classmates. As the students eat their ice cream, hold a class discussion which focuses on the following questions:
    • How much money did you spend at the ice cream parlor?
    • How much money do you have left?
    • Where does the money that you spent at the ice cream parlor go? ( back into the economy )
    • What could you do with your money that you saved? ( example: put it in a savings account )

    This discussion focused on how different businesses help the economy grow. Although this lesson/activity takes extra time and effort, I feel that the students truly grasped the concept of businesses, entrepreneurs, profit, and economic growth because they were involved in their learning and had fun with the project.


  • Create a rubric and assess the students on their:
    • Daily profit (receive one point if correct)
    • Overall profit (if earned $20 or more – receive 5 points / $15-$19 – received 4 points, etc.)
  • Assess students on their understanding of the vocabulary words (goods, entrepreneurs, profit, and service) through an exam ( the social studies chapter exam ).

Connection to other Subjects:

  • Technology can be incorporated into the lesson by having the students keep track of their profit using an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Students could also research their business/service by using an internet search engine, or a webquest.

Special Thanks: A special thanks to Sue Clifton for being a great cooperating teacher and standing by my side!

E-Mail Briana Westenberger !

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