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.