Beyond the Lemonade Stand: You Get What You Give

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A few weeks ago I wrote an introduction to a group of posts I will be making about teaching economics to middle school students. I will be talking about what I learned by coordinating State Farm Summer Business Camp. The first thing I learned is to get “buy in” from the kids. 

When I first started at the Business Education Partnership Foundation, I was able to make friends with many people who provided me with information and resources that I was able to apply to my teachings. Dr. Ron Kates at Middle Tennessee State University introduced me to Lions Quest. I adapted one of the most profound of the lessons from that training, a questionnaire called “Get to Give,” into a format I could use with the campers on their first training day.

I put up two easels with flip charts and use either interns or a couple of the camp participants to help. I ask a series of questions and had the answers written on the flip charts (Hold on to those flip chart papers, they will make a come back at the end of the camp/lessons). Write down everything that is said. DO NOT JUDGE (unless there is something said that is not appropriate, it happened once during my 10 years).

Question 1: Why are you at this camp (can substitute class/taking these lessons/etc.)?

Question 2: What do you want to get out of this camp?

Question 3: What is something you know about business?

Question 4: Is there something you’d like to learn about business that you do not know?

Question 5: How do you think you will use the information you will be learning during this camp?

Question 6: To get what you want out of this camp, what are you willing to give?

Do not skip any questions, whether you end up using this information to teach middle school kids, high school kids, college students or adults. During my 12 years at the BEP I found that there was buy-in from almost every person involved when I started with these questions. When I didn’t use them, I had a lot of fall out and much more negative behavior.

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