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In this lesson students are introduced to several businesses from the past. They see that, while the names for these businesses are different, many of the elements of that job are seen in occupations today. The web site, "Business Cards..." explains that many of our family names may have come the occupations of preceding generations. The activity at the end of this lesson allows children to create a paper object to symbolize the name of the job described. Ultimately, students may wish to investigate the origins of their own surnames and family businesses from long ago.  

KEY CONCEPTS

Advertising, Business, Division of Labor, Goods, Interdependence, Services, Specialization, Technological Changes

STUDENTS WILL

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

INTRODUCTION

new registerIn this lesson students are introduced to several businesses from the past. They see that, while the names for these businesses are different, many of the elements of that job are seen in occupations today. The web site, "Business Cards..." explains that many of our family names may have come the occupations of preceding generations. The activity at the end of this lesson allows children to create a paper object to symbolize the name of the job described. Ultimately, students may wish to investigate the origins of their own surnames and family businesses from long ago. old register

Open the lesson with a discussion of a business (the occupation, work, or trade a person engages in). Remind the children that people in early communities eventually realized that specialization in jobs would lead to efficiency. This, then, lead to interdependence among members of an area or town. (Give example of this from students' lives...teachers and employees of your school, specialty stores in the community, etc.) Ask boys and girls for examples of problems that might arise if business places in your area DIDN'T specialize (low inventory, higher prices, unsold goods, food spoilage, low profits)

RESOURCES

PROCESS

 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.

Divide the class to create 12 groups. Under the heading, "Business Then and Now" browse through the stories and pictures. Assign one section to each of the 12 groups. Ask students to read their information and be able to share with everyone in the class. Create a large chart for recording their findings. Headings should include:

  • Old Name
  • New Name
  • Goods or Services Provided ( You may wish students to have this organizer on an 8 1/2x11 sheet for note-taking.)

Activity 2

Ask students to brainstorm kinds of business from long ago that no longer exist. Add these to the chart, with a special notation in the middle column telling WHY this business is no longer needed.

Now ask for ideas describing occupations, trades, businesses that have just recently come into being. Continue to specify if they provide goods or services.

Activity 3bbc

Return to Business Then and Now

This time click on "Business Cards: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker." Discuss what business cards are and why they are used. Share samples if available. Remind students that many years ago before the majority of people could read, symbols on signs hung outside a place of business to tell consumers what was available inside the store...a hat, a tooth, a needle with thread...the object served to advertise the good or service a customer could expect to find.

  1. How many of these jobs do people still do today?
    [All of these professions are performed still in some manner, only the way in technology is employed has changed the profession.]
     
  2. Did you realize that some of people's family names came from the jobs or work done by their ancestors?
    [Opinion Answer.]
     
  3. Is this true of your name?
    [Students are encouraged to do some research here and attempt to find a relationship between their last name and some profession.] 

 Ask students to think about a "business object" that could be made with paints, crayons, paper, glue, that could symbolize one of the occupations given on the web site [a sheep, a cart, a gardening tool] OR one for a business they know in the community, [a car dealer, a restaurant, a tax office, an attorney]. If the family  of the student owns a business, they may choose to create something for the family business. Names and slogans could be written on the objects, too.

Some members of the class may prefer to create "business cards" to represent an old or new business. For display purposes, perhaps they could be over-sized so as to be readable from a distance.

CONCLUSION

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

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

1. Ask students to survey their neighborhoods for stories about family names. Organize this information for a booklet describing surnames that originated from occupations, from locations, from re-spellings of foreign names, etc.

2. On the computer or by hand design business stationery or small business cards for:

  • Local businesses
  • Family members
  • School faculty /staff
  • Sports teams
  • Authors of favorite books

EDUCATOR REVIEWS

  • “This lesson is awesome! It was thoughtful yet simple. I really liked it and can use it in my Principles of Business class.”

    Renae Amrani, NC   POSTED ON July 23, 2005

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