This year Tyler's school required two significant end-of-year projects for the fifth graders: a science fair project and a legitimate business endeavor.
Tyler dove right into his science project, which turned out to be a survey: What color of soda do people like best? He colored several bottles of 7-up, poured the drink into glasses, and, after his Cub Scout Pack Meeting in April, surveyed children and adults at the church. Among the 27 participants, purple soda was most popular with the adults, while orange was most popular with the children. Some people noticed that all of the soda tasted the same, while others did not. It was cool to see the way color tricks the mind. I think it would have been interesting to ask people to identify the flavors of the different-colored drinks, but that would have been another project entirely. Tyler displayed his project in class one day. Garry and I visited. There wasn't a science fair with places and prizes--just a simple walk-through in the classroom. Tyler did a great job and did nearly all of the work himself.
Before the science fair was finished, the next big project began. All of the students had to run a business. They had to write a business plan, take out a $6.00 loan from parents, buy supplies, hire employees, and sell goods or services. After collecting money and deducting expenses, profits would go to the school. Tyler was initially VERY overwhelmed because he missed an entire week of school due to a nasty strain of croup, and that was the week when the other fifth graders were preparing their businesses. Eventually he re-grouped and decided to launch a bakery called Tyler's Tongue-Tingling Tasties. Because his product was food, he couldn't plan to sell any at school (allergy restrictions), so I posted an "ad" on Facebook and through the ward email list, and in no time Tyler had eager customers. Tyler did all of the baking. Mom and Dad supervised, helping where needed.
(One batch failed....)
Making crescent rolls on one Saturday and cupcakes the following Wednesday was a monumental effort, but he finished with a profit of $88.00. He learned a lot about time and financial investments, and also what baking supplies cost.
He also learned how to make a pretty great crescent roll and delicious buttercream frosting! Some of his positive feedback: "Those rolls were amazing!" "I wish I had ordered more!" "Are you sure your mom didn't make these?" "Best cupcakes ever!" "Can I order some more on the sly?" I think all of us are glad, however, that for now, Tyler has retired from the bakery business.
When I asked Tyler how he felt about his business experience, he said, "I liked the experience selling because I had a lot of fun, even though I messed up several times. I especially liked the crescent rolls, even though they weren't exactly like I wanted them to be, they tasted very good. I liked the cupcakes because a lot of people bought them. I was surprised because cupcakes...are just cupcakes! It was awesome because I got hired at the last minute on Selling Day (at school, where kids with non-food items could sell their wares to other students). I liked that I could do something during the Selling Day. It was fun."