Paper Products: Creativity Is Step to Business Success. (on the Art Career Track)

By Baxter, John | Arts & Activities, October 2002 | Go to article overview

Paper Products: Creativity Is Step to Business Success. (on the Art Career Track)


Baxter, John, Arts & Activities


MATERIALS

* White and colored paper

* Scissors, tape, markers and staplers

* Computers and printers

* Fake money

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Students will ...

* learn to work in a cooperative group sharing ideas, teamwork and social interaction.

* continue development of their independent thinking skills, depending less on the teacher direction and more on their own self-reliance.

* potentially accomplish Goal 4 or 5 of the visual arts standard framework: Goal 4 "Students create original artworks based on personal experiences or responses"; Goal 5 "Students develop skills in the visual arts and appreciation for using the visual arts in lifelong learning."

In my "Business Exploratory" classes, I challenge my students to create out of paper a product that they will sell during an in-class swap meet. It's part of my 10-week class where I teach sixth- and seventh-graders how to start a business. Business itself is a creative process: An entrepreneur creates a business from nothing, fulfills a need and provides jobs, as well as earns a living.

It all starts with an idea and after I place my students in groups or "partnerships," I ask them to develop a product. I hold up a blank sheet of white paper and tell them that this is their natural resource for the product; in a week they will be asked to try and sell the product at a spot in the room to other students in the class using fake money. I give each group a few sheets to use as "prototype" paper where they can practice their designing. They can use as much prototype paper as they need.

While I have white and colored paper at school, some students want to use their own paper: index cards, tissue paper or bright-colored sheets. I am always amazed at the ideas the students generate. The more unique the product idea, the better it will sell. Some of the best-selling ideas include paper flowers, stickers, magnetic-backed pictures (I never said they could not add something that was not paper to the paper), skateboard ramps made out of cardboard, paper picture frames, cardboard animals, origami and jewelry.

A few students will develop drawings and sketches or fancy lettering to sell. Some create basketball, football or penny-toss games, or their own game for the class to play. Each group of students is unique.

This project works with both grade levels, but the sixth-graders seem to get the most passionate about developing the business, but seventh-graders do well also.

Once they have a product idea and have made a prototype, the group checks with me to see if they can continue that idea into production. I will allow most product ideas to be mass-produced for the swap meet. …

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