JHS Introduction to Business Students Create Toys for A Children’s Place

The squeals of delight that a new toy brings to a child were music to Jamestown High School students’ ears during a “test day” at A Children’s Place. The Introduction to Business, which is a JCC College Connections class, took their classroom assignment of developing an educational toy directly to preschoolers for input. Students created a Shapester twister game with shapes and colors, an Alphabet Puzzle, a Match-it game with letters, and a three-dimensional board game where children were the players using large dice to learn more about counting. 

To come up with their toys, students were told, “You and your friends have been recently helping at a local daycare center for preschoolers. You notice that none of the toys available at the center adequately teach the children about colors, shapes, etc.” In teams, students create an educational toy appropriate for a preschooler. The toy had to teach one of the following requirements: colors, sizes and/or shapes or numbers. The toy also had to be made of recyclable materials, include hands-on learning, and safe for small children. Students created a short presentation with: the purpose of the toy, how the toy is used, each team member’s role in creating the toy, entrepreneurial skills used and strategies used to reach a decision.

“It made the project real-life to bring our toys directly to the target audience, the preschoolers, that we are marketing to,” said JHS senior Cady Holtz. “It’s more of a hands-on experience in business than just learning about it in the classroom. We see immediately what is working with our product and what we may need to improve.”

Introduction to Business Teacher, David Munella, thought that this community connection fit in well with the product development unit they were working on. 

“I was looking to create a real-life application for the students and found this activity in the New York State CDOS (Career Development & Occupational Studies) standards,” said Mr. Munella.  “It focused on some of the criteria I wanted my students to achieve including: researching, interpreting, analyzing and evaluating information, improving interpersonal skills, using technology, managing information, and systems. I envisioned having the students test market their products.  A Children’s Place immediately came to mind because my own children attended there when they were young. When I contacted Executive Director, Sara Stormer, she was absolutely thrilled to have us work with them.  I can’t thank A Children’s Place enough for helping us with this project.” 

A Children’s Place was excited to participate in the focus groups.

“We were very excited to have the students from JHS come and share their projects with us,” said Ms. Stormer. “Not only was it engaging for our UPK students to actually test out the games and toys, it was also important for them to see older students excited about learning. Keeping our students connected with other Jamestown Public Schools is an important goal of A Children’s Place. This focus group allowed our students to see that hands-on learning continues from UPK all the way through high school.”

JHS’ Introduction to Business is a college-credit course that focuses on an overview of functional areas of business and basic concepts of the business world. Some topics include the environment of business, organization and management of the enterprise, management of human resources and production, marketing, finance, government’s role in business, social responsibility, and cultural diversity, as well as major societal issues facing today’s business executives.

“It is so important to offer business classes to JHS students,” said Mr. Munella. “First and foremost, many of the applications and experiences they will receive in our classes will be skills used for the rest of their lives. Secondly, the state is putting more emphasis on CTE (Career Technical Education) programs recently providing alternative pathways that allow students to satisfy the required fifth regents needed for graduation.  In addition, students with disabilities have opportunities to obtain a CDOS credential by meeting a set of criteria outlined by New York State. Finally, students are exposed to information where a majority of careers are tied into – being in business.”

posted on 05/23/2016 - filed under: Academics, Business, Community, JHS, Spotlight, Students