Unit 9 of Benchmark Advance - Markers & Minions
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Unit 9 of Benchmark Advance

Now, I have to be honest with you. As much as I liked the unit concepts for Unit 9 of Benchmark Advance, I rarely ever made it through the whole unit with as much intention as I would have liked to. My class has done a project that ties into unit 9 very nicely, which I will share with you in this post. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews on this unit; some people love doing it, and others just hit the high points and keep rolling on! Some never even have time to get to it at all. If you do decide to jump into Unit 9, here are some great examples of projects that I have seen over the years and one of my favorites that I’ve done with my own students.

Fold In Some Origami

(Just fold it in, David!) 😂

Tina, a second-grade teacher, did an origami-style store project. Her students created a product (out of paper), created a name for their store, came up with a slogan, and determined pricing. How cute are these?!

Hold a Real-Life Farmers’ Market

Another second-grade teacher, Natalia, held a farmers’ market! She had some students ask local businesses and their parents to donate. Some students had their own produce grown at home or had parents in agriculture that were able to donate to the farmers’ market. The money they made went to purchase something for their classroom to use. 

Start a Business

Like I said, I was not able to get to unit 9 and really do much with the unit since it always fell around testing season. However, the year I was on the adoption committee and trying out Benchmark, they gave me unit 9 to play around with and it was around Valentine’s Day. To try and tie in the business theme, I had my students start their own class business! Around this time of year is also when our school would fundraise to donate to Pennies for Patients, so we decided to start a business and donate all the proceeds to this charity. The feedback from this project was so successful that since then I have actually turned it into a resource. This Start Your Own Business Mini-Project is available for both digital and printable and includes everything the students need to work through creating their own business. Keep reading to see how I used this setup for our Valentine-grams business.

Step 1: Brainstorm an Offer (Good or Service)

First, we brainstormed ideas for a product we could actually make and sell. We had some really great discussions about “initial investments,” and students understood that it was important for us to keep our overhead costs low (or zero if possible). They eventually settled on the idea of creating Valentine-grams to create, market, and sell. We agreed that we could forgo the candy and just make fun grams out of paper. For a second option (to be sold at a higher cost), purchasers could add a pencil to their gram. We wrote a proposal letter to our principal to get our business plan approved, and then we were off!

Step 2: Write the Business Plan

Next, we tallied up our initial investments and came up with a plan for production. Students took shifts and came in at recess to create the grams and marketing materials. I cut out hundreds of hearts using our staff die-cut machine and the kids decorated them. The students who were in charge of marketing made signs to post around the school and big arrows that they could swirl around by our booth (LOL). 

Step 3: Start Selling!

When production was finished, students signed up for booth shifts during lunch and after school, where they sold their handmade grams to other students and teachers. They kept track of sales and had an organization system. The students purchasing a gram had to write a special note on the gram and then tell who it was for and which class they were in. Then, my students would sort the gram in a Ziploc bag labeled with the recipients’ teacher’s name.

Step 4: Deliver and Donate

On Valentine’s Day, my students went in groups of three to deliver grams to each classroom for grades K-5! They took the Ziploc bags to the corresponding rooms and distributed the Valentine grams. We ended up raising almost $400 from this project and the kids loved it!  

I hope this gives you some inspiration for Unit 9. There are a lot of other ideas that teachers have shared in our Markers and Minions Benchmark Advance Group, so make sure to join us over there!

Read more Benchmark Advance blog posts here.

Questions or ideas to share? Please leave a comment on this blog post!

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