Building a Business: Henry County Students Focus on the Future

Fieldale-Collinsville seventh grader Jazmyn Hodge shows off her business idea, a de-aging drink.

By Amie Knowles
September 28, 2020

Seventh-grade classes at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School built business plans during virtual learning

COLLINSVILLE – In Fieldale-Collinsville’s Civics classes, testing business knowledge occurs in various forms.

Seventh-grade classes at the Henry County middle school recently completed a unit on economics. Together, Anna Carlton, Greg Worrell and Chasity Duffer’s classes virtually studied various economies, economic systems, banks, credit and more.

Rather than ending the lessons with a customary exam, the teachers gave students a different option.

“As our culminating activity, instead of giving a traditional test, we decided it would be really beneficial to have them create their own businesses using a lot of the concepts we had talked about,” Carlton said.

The hands-on learning method also gave students time away from the screen and opportunities for creative expansion. 

“Especially in a virtual environment, it’s a little bit easier to have them produce something,” Carlton said.

The three tasked students with finding proper resources for a startup endeavor. Students looked for unique business concepts not currently done. They discovered how much money the project needed at startup and explored marketing techniques so the company could reach consumers. Students also figured out who their target audience was and how day-to-day operations would work.

The project expanded their knowledge on the ins and outs of the unit. Students also put their understanding of the unit’s concepts on display.

“They had to also create, like, an infomercial to sell their product,” Carlton said. “So it was a lot of fun to see.”

As the assignments took shape, the students’ ideas impressed the teachers.

A marketable idea

One seventh grader, Jazmyn Hodge, created a solution to an age-old problem – literally.

The student heard her mother talking about getting older and wishing for an age reversal method. The grievance sparked an idea.

“My business is called Jazmyn’s Youthful Remedies and it’s, like, a drinking solution that comes in, like, different flavors,” Hodge said.

She designed the product for people age 12 and older. The concept works like a typical water enhancer, but rather than adding a little sweetener and taste, the product improves the consumer’s appearance.

“You drink it and it lasts for six months and it makes you look younger,” Hodge said.

The student said she enjoyed presenting her idea and also liked making the solution. The secret recipe consists of 12 oz of water, a drop of food coloring – which also denotes the drink’s flavor – and the special concoction of age defying nutrients.

“You add that. You shake it up and it makes it,” Hodge said.

Hodge’s project excited Carlton, who’s taught at FCMS since 2016. 

“Jasmyn’s was one that was great. It was something I’ve never seen before,” Carlton said. “I’ve done this project seven or eight times now, and so hers was a first and I thought it was great. I just love seeing that creativity.”

Creation continues around the school

Other kids also developed unique ideas. We’re sharing the projects, but not the names of these kids because some parents asked us not to. We also weren’t able to get in touch with others by presstime. One project was called “Doggie For A Day.” The service let people rent a dog on a daily basis, to do everything from serving as a companion to senior citizens to simply being a friend to a young kid. Another business plan focused on “Healthy Mornings,” a company serving all-natural healthy drinks and snacks. A third student created a Kool-Aid drink shop, “50 Shades of Kool-Aid,” while “Your-I-Fy” would let people bring in anything they want into a store to get personalized. Other students came up with things like vegan burger restaurants and jewelry shops that only sold kids’ items

Overall, the project produced several great ideas. It also exposed students to a real market scenario.

“I think it helps them understand a little better the economy they live in because they’re going to need to know about this stuff as they get older,” Carlton said. “You know, they’re going to be a part of it.”

Students in some of Carlton’s previous Civics classes who also completed similar business model projects are already making major money moves.

“They’re in high school and they’ve actually kind of used what they’ve done to start their own little side project, especially during quarantine,” Carlton said. “So it’s neat to see this that they did in seventh or eighth grade come to real life. I think it helps kids kind of be empowered as well that they can do stuff like this.”

Author’s note

Hey, teachers, students, parents – everyone embarking in virtual learning this year! I’m starting a series called #ClassDuringCovid and I want to feature YOUR unique learning experience. Is there a special project you’ve done this year? What about some interesting virtual field trips? From Common Core to uncommon adventures, I want to hear about it. My inbox is ready and waiting for all of your great ideas at [email protected]

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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