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Summer Send-Off Lesson: Adventures in Young Entrepreneurship - Part 1


The iconic picture of youngsters selling lemonade in front of their suburban homes or on busy city street corners represents entrepreneurship at its beginning. Still a viable first business, selling a food product without following local laws and regulations could be more trouble than it’s worth. An easier, if less lucrative, way for students to learn about making money and what actually constitutes profit is to read about how some interesting fictional characters have spent their summers doing just that.


The following books are recommended for ages eight and up, are of interest to both boys and girls, and feature contemporary plots, characters and settings. They are excellent to read aloud as they lead to interesting discussions concerning earning and saving money, using productive resources, and the importance of ethical behavior.


The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies [Sandpiper, 2007]

Story Synopsis:  When Evan learns that his precocious younger sister, Jessie, will be skipping third grade to join him in fourth grade he is distressed.  Feeling that she will make him look dumb in comparison, he becomes picky and competitive trying to prove that he is the superior of the two.  Soon the siblings devised a plan to see who can earn the most money before school begins.  Both start selling lemonade using various business strategies and marketing techniques. After many missteps, they learn that Evan’s entrepreneurial nature and Jessie’s analytical skills are both needed to create a winning partnership.

For Discussion: An entrepreneur is a person who comes up with an idea for a better service or product, or a better way to produce one. The entrepreneur organizes the natural, human, and capital resources needed to produce that good or service. Together, Evan and Jessie have all the characteristics of  successful entrepreneurs. They are competitive, creative, energetic, organized and self-confident.

Ask the students if they can think of any person who fits this definition. Possible answers include: Bill Gates (software), Walt Disney (entertainment), Henry Ford (automobiles), Steve Jobs (computers), Milton Hershey (chocolate), Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). Discuss the entrepreneurs the students have suggested. Question why they think they were successful.  

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulson [Dell Yearling, 2009]

Story Synopsis: An unnamed twelve-year-old inherits his grandfather’s old lawn mower and never looks back.  At first his only concern is making a few dollars in order to buy a new inner tube for his bike.  Things escalate quickly when he meets the cash strapped, home-based stockbroker Arnold. By the end of the summer our young entrepreneur is worth half a million dollars.

For Discussion:  The lawn boy provided a much needed service for the people in his neighborhood. A service is beneficial work which does not result in a tangible product.  Haircuts, tutoring, and medical care are examples of services.  The lawn boy did not go looking for a summer job; it just sort of happened. Suppose he had been trying to make money.  What are some possible services a twelve-year-old could provide?   Create a list of at least five ideas and share it with the class. Possible ideas include: babysitting, cleaning/organizing garages and sheds, coaching sports, delivering newspapers, wrapping gifts, house-sitting (for families on vacation), house cleaning, pet sitting/walking, plant watering, tutoring, car washing, shopping for senior citizens, and yard work.

Looking for more stories to work into your lesson when teaching your students or children about adventures in young entrepreneurship? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog!

Do you have more stories that you believe will fit in with this lesson perfectly? Share them with us below!

Posted by Lynne Farrell Stover in Teacher, General ← Previous Post Next Post →

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