The economics unit in kindergarten is a fun, low-pressure way for students to learn about businesses, including what they are and how they operate. Students complete the unit by running a business of their own—past examples have included restaurants, bakeries, a theatre and more—and inviting members of the community to be their customers.
Even though students in Andrea Burlew’s ’93 and Erica Melick’s kindergarten class last year were not able to invite customers to visit their businesses when school was shifted to USM@HOME distance learning, they still gained valuable skills and insight during the planning and building process, much of which happened prior to March.
The students and their families were invited back to campus on Monday, Aug. 24 for a socially distanced celebration of their hard work and the chance to enjoy the arcade business they formed as kindergarten students. They developed a series of arcade games, from a bean-bag toss to a hockey golf game, and students voted on their favorite games, determined the concept and theme for each game, and built and decorated the games. “Everybody contributed in some way, either as a painter or an assembler, and everyone voted on which games were their favorites,” said Burlew.
“The tricky part is that we never got to test out the games because of distance learning, so some of the games might fail as the kids use them today,” said Melick. “But that’s kind of like having a business—it’s a learning experience!”