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Hot Shot Business

What it is: The Disney website has a lot of engaging and fun content for kids, unfortunately, not all of it is educational.  Hot Shot Business is one of the better Disney games I have seen for the classroom.  It teaches kids about business and entrepreneurship through a fun simulation game.  Students are introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship and franchising by their virtual business hosts, Kate and Jack.  Kate and Jack offer advice and recommendations throughout the game.  The decisions that students will make throughout the game will have consequences that extend beyond profits and losses alone.  They will have to deal with environmental factors, as well as finding ways to provide jobs for members of the community.    Students can choose to start a pet spa, a candy factory, a comic shop, custom skateboard shop, professional landscaping, or a magic shop.  Kids are sure to find a business that they are interested in!  The entire game is narrated which is great for all levels of readers.  As students play the game, they will be exposed to the nuts and bolts of running their own business, they will have to make decisions about how to respond to market trends, how to respond to customer preferences, how to respond to fast breaking news reports that may affect their business,  and how to respond to ethical dilemmas.  Students even have access to a Hot Shot Business kit where they can download and print out business cards and fliers. How to integrate Hot Shot Business into the classroom: Hot Shot Business was designed to meet national standards in both language arts and math, making it fit easily into any curriculum.  The ideal setup for Hot Shot Business is a few days in the computer lab for a 1-to-1 setting where each student can work individually on setting up their own store.  Game play could extend for several days depending on the unit that you are teaching.  The Disney site has some excellent lesson plans and suggestions for implementation, I highly recommend them.  I like the idea of connecting with entrepreneurs in the community during this unit so that as students are working through the game, they can get advice and recommendations from those who do it every day. If you can’t make it happen in a computer lab setting over several days, choose a business to start as a class and make decisions as a team.  You can do this using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  In this scenario, students will have to discuss their decisions and reason with each other to decide on a course of action. Hot Shot Business is a really well designed game, it would be a great addition for the 3rd-6th grade classroom.  I suspect that it ties into several of the curricula already being used in schools, I know that Treasures (MacMillan McGraw Hill) has units that it fits nicely into.  This is great hands on learning, a definite step up from Lemonade Stand. Tips: This is a really great site, but I must warn you that it eats up the bandwidth! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Hot Shot Business in your classroom.

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If It Were My Home: Compare Countries Visually

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Evaluate, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 11-02-2013

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What it is: We are just heading into a new inquiry block at Anastasis Academy.  The kids are exploring world communities and our interdependence on each other.  If it Were My Home is a fascinating website that asks students to consider what their life would be like if they were born in a different country.  Would they be the same person?  If it Were My Home is a country comparison tool where students can compare living conditions in their own country to those of another.  When students select a country, there is a visual overlay comparison of maps.  Students can easily visualize relative size of another country based on their own state or country.  Students will also see a break down of death rates, HIV/AIDS, birth rate, electricity availability, oil consumption, economic comparison, health care, and class divide.  Students have the ability to compare the country they selected with another country of interest.  Students can learn additional information about the country and vote to show if they would rather live in the chosen country.  Additionally, most countries offer a recommended reading list with books about the selected country.  When students click on the mini-facts, they get a full description of the fact along with the original source.  SO stinking cool!

How to integrate If it Were My Home into the classroom: If it Were My Home is an outstanding way for students to visualize and compare other countries to their own.  I love that this site helps students with geography, but also reveals that there is a real world community that is interdependent and diverse.  This site helps students recognize the unique place they are in the world and how it relates to other countries.  I love the added awareness of human rights and social justice issues that this site encourages.  In our inquiry unit, we are looking at what the facts listed on the site mean about the government, belief systems, human rights, equality, social justice and landscape of the countries they represent.

This is a site that can be used to help students ask bigger questions.  To see a fact about another country, and ask what bigger problems might be revealed, what we can learn from other countries, and break down some stereotypes that students may have about other countries.

Ask each student to choose a country to compare to their country of origin.  Have students pair up with a partner and compare their chosen countries to the country of origin.

Choose “Disasters” from the menu at the top of the screen to view some natural and man-made disasters that affected the lives of millions of people.  Students can view the scope of the disaster in relation to where they live, helping them to better visualize the impact that man-made and natural disasters can have on a population.

Tie in a creative writing project and have students imagine that they are moving from their country of origin to their chosen country.  Students can use the information and comparison as inspiration for their fictional story about what life would be like in their new home.   Students could also write a short autobiographical story about growing up in their country of origin, followed by a short “autobiographical” type story about their life growing up in a different country.

Use the statistical data in If it Were My Home for some real world mathematical comparison between countries.  If Rwanda has a 10.7 times higher chance of dying in infancy, how many infant deaths does it expect on average per year?  If Rwandans make 98.06% less than Americans, what would you expect an average salary to be?

I used Rwanda as my example because Rwanda is where we started our first Anastasis sister school.  Our 2nd-3rd grade class has been absolutely fascinated with Rwanda and poured over this site to learn more. :)

Tips: Encourage your students to read one of the recommended books about the country they chose. This will help them understand more about the country they chose, and give the people in that country voice beyond the facts listed.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  If it Were My Home in your classroom.

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