Today we're going to do some activities about businesses.
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  • How would you explain the word business?
  • Name a business that offers goods for sale.
  • Name a business that provides a service.
  • Name several businesses in your town or area.

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  • Do they specialize, that is sell mainly one product?
  • Do you think this is good or should all businesses sell a little of everything?
  • In the past a "general store" tended to be a place to be everything...hardware, clothing, food, furniture, medicine. Why did that change, do you suppose?


In this lesson you will:

  1. Examine businesses from long ago noting whether they provided goods or services.
  2. Learn how some businesses have evolved.
  3. Recognize how some family names may be indicators of occupations and businesses of the past.


Activity 1

The web site Business Then and Now introduces students to some long-ago occupations in which people specialized. Ironically, that specialization might have lead to the person's surname.

Your teacher will divide you into groups and give you a title from the heading, "Business Then and Now." Read about the history and changes in your business and be ready to share that information with your class. Be sure you can tell if this business offers goods or services. Write your findings on the chart.

Activity 2

Now think of businesses you have heard or read about that no longer exist... ones that went out of business as times changed and people no longer needed or used goods or services provided by them. Add these ideas to the chart, too

How about a business that is brand that did not exist when your grandparents were your age. Continue the chart, putting these examples in the correct places.

Activity 3

Return to Business Then and Now

Click on "Business Cards: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker."

  1. How many of these jobs do people still do today?
  2. Did you realize that some of people's family names came from the jobs or work done by their ancestors?
  3. Is this true of your name?

bbcChoose one sample here to teach others about.

With the art supplies your teacher has provided, create an object 6"-8" tall that would represent a name and job you just read about. Be creative. Make your object colorful, eye-catching. Cut neatly. You may write a slogan on the object, like an advertisement for the business. If your family has a business, you may choose that to illustrate. Put your creation on display in the room when you're finished.


Businesses have changed and are changing as the needs of consumers change and are changing.