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Monday Morning Ready08.25.2016
Jumpstart Your Week!

It's just a wagon. But with a little imagination, there are no limits to what it can become. Robert Pasin, president and CEO of Radio Flyer, explained it: "It can be anything the child imagines it to be. It can be a spaceship, a train, a race car, a submarine." That versatility has given the iconic, fire hydrant red Radio Flyer serious staying power.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Do you agree with Robert Pasin's explanation that the Radio Flyer succeeded because it can be anything the child imagines it to be? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Why do you think Radio Flyer survived the Great Depression when so many other toy companies didn't? Why do you think the company struggled when competitors started producing plastic wagons in the 1990s?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, Antonio Pasin took out a $30,000 loan to build a 45-foot-tall structure of a boy atop a wagon for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. His grandson, Robert Pasin, calls this a "brilliant brand-building idea." Do you agree? Would you have taken a risk like this if it were your company? Why or why not?

Grade 9-10

According to Gary Cross, a historian at Pennsylvania State University, people give their kids what they fondly remember from childhood. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Can you think of any other toy companies that have succeeded because of this type of sentiment? If so, make a list.

LESSON PLAN
Outline a Business Plan

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, outline the process Robert Pasin went through as he created the Radio Flyer wagon. Guide students to recognize that every decision he made, regardless of how big it might have seemed, played an important part in his success.
  2. Inform students that all business owners undergo a similar process when they create a new product or envision a new service. They begin with an idea. If it's a product, they must design a prototype to show what it will look like. If it's a service, they must draft an outline to explain how it will work. Then they must find the best ways to make, market and deliver their ideas. 
  3. Divide the class into small groups. Give groups time to brainstorm ideas for a new product or service. Have them draw a prototype of their product or draft a detailed outline explaining how their service works.
  4. Challenge students to write a general business plan explaining how they will make, market and deliver their new product or service.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite groups to share their business plans with the class. Challenge classmates to identify key choices each group made. Discuss the impact these choices could have on the success or failure of each new product or service.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
Instruct groups to identify a new product and draw a prototype. Have them come up with a creative name and logo for their product. Then challenge them to write a basic business outline in which they identify materials needed to make their product, explain how they will build it, identify most likely customers and describe how they will market their product to these potential customers.

Grades 5-6:
Instruct groups to identify a new product and draw a prototype. Encourage them to come up with a creative name and logo for their product. Then have students write a basic business outline in which they explain how they will make, market and deliver their product. Challenge students to identify the number of employees needed in their operation and to draft a detailed list of benefits the company will provide for its employees.

Grades 7-8:
Instruct groups to identify a new product or service and to draw a prototype or draft a detailed outline as needed. Encourage them to come up with a creative name and logo for their idea. Then have students write a detailed business outline in which they explain how they will make, market and deliver their product. Challenge students to include details such as the number of employees, employee benefits and whether or not employees will belong to a union. Instruct them to also identify where the company is located and to explain why this location was selected as the base of operations.

Grades 9-10:
Instruct groups to identify a new product or service and to draw a prototype or draft a detailed outline as needed. Encourage them to come up with a creative name and logo for their idea. Then have students write a detailed business outline in which they explain how they will make, market and deliver their product. Instruct students to include details such as company location, the number of employees, employee benefits and whether or not employees will belong to a union. Challenge them to explain the impact labor unions could have on their operation.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
When Work Becomes a Game
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how corporate America is motivating employees by applying the principles of games to the non-game setting of the workplace.

How Cesar Chavez Changed the World
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how one California farmworker’s initiative improved lives in America’s fields, and beyond.

In the Playtime of Others: Child Labor in the Early 20th Century
In this lesson from the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, students examine photographs to “experience” and then write about the work of young factory laborers in the early 20th century.

The Way We Worked
In this Smithsonian exhibit, adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, students trace the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years as they explore how work became such a central element in American culture.

The Making of Labor Day
Have you ever wondered where Labor Day came from? Read a brief history of the Labor Day holiday in this post from the National Museum of American History.
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