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The Scoop on Local Business


In this lesson, students explore how local businesses support their state or regional economy by exploring the importance of local business and understanding how one can affect change in the economy.
Curriculum Link: Author: Alison Zimbalist, The New York Times Learning Network, December, 1999

Expected Student Outcomes/Objectives

1. List the product grown or manufactured in their state or region and distinguish how local businesses support the local economy by using these products.
2. Explore the importance of local businesses to the economic strength of their communities or regions by reading and discussing “Vermonters Would Keep Lid on Ben & Jerry’s Pint.”
3. Develop interview questions to ask an owner or manager of a local business that, in some way, uses an assigned product grown in your state or region, thus supporting the larger economy.
4. Write letters of response from interviewees to Ben and Jerry, incorporating information and viewpoints obtained in interviews in their responses to the economic issues discussed in the featured article.

Description of Activities

1. Warm-up: In their journals, students respond to the following questions (written on the board prior to class): What types of products are grown or manufactured in your state or region? How are these products supported by local businesses? Students then share their answers.

2. As a class, read and discuss “Vermonters Would Keep Lid on Ben & Jerry’s Pint,” focusing on specific questions identified in the lesson, including “what tone does this article end?”.

3. Divide students into pairs or small groups, assigning each group a product grown or manufactured locally or in your state or region. Ask each group to choose a local business that in some way uses this product and thus supports the larger economy. Each group then develops a set of interview questions to ask an owner or manager at this organization. Students should reflect on the issues explored in the featured article as a starting point. Questions may include: How does your business support the local economy? Who has ownership of your business? How do the ownership and employees of your business reflect who you are as a company? Who is your competition, and what competitive techniques and strategies do you employ? How does globalization affect your business and how are businesses in your area able to support the local economy? Help students develop such questions by sitting in on their group brainstorming.

4. Wrap-up/Homework: Each group interviews, either in person or over the phone, an owner or manager at the business they have selected. Each student in the group then chooses one of the economics topics explored in their interview and writes a letter of response to Ben and Jerry from the viewpoint of the interviewee. In other words, how would the interviewee respond to the notion of responsibility to the local economy as discussed in the featured article? In a future class, groups should share their letters with the class and evaluate in what ways and how much they feel local businesses support the state or regional economy.

Culminating Activity and/or Assessment

Students will be evaluated based on written journal response, participation in class discussions, group development of interview questions, group interview of local business owner or manager, and letter of response from the interviewee to Ben and Jerry that incorporates thoughts and viewpoints expressed in the interview.

Extention Activities are available to challenge students.

Instructional Materials Needed

- student journals
- paper
- pens/pencils
- classroom whiteboard/markers
- copies of “Vermonters Would Keep Lid on Ben & Jerry’s Pint” (one per student)

Instructional Materials Provided

Teacher instructions, discussion questions, online links to articles

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Additional criteria

Cost: Free

Curriculum type: Lesson

Academic subject areas: English; Career-Technical Education

States' Career Clusters: Finance

California Industry sector(s): Business and Finance

Duration: 45 - 50 minutes, plus homework.

Grade Targets: 9, 10, 11, 12

Level of Expertise for CTE: Introductory

Targeted Support Material: Community Involvement

Standards Addressed: Detailed documentation of alignment with Common Core, NGSS, C3 or CTE Standards provided  

Economics, Geography &Language Arts

Online curriculum

Keywords: globalization, entreaties, capitalism, actualize, progressive, fiduciary

Source: Web Site

Curriculum Link:

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