- 2 hours
- Social and Emotional Skills
1Schedule 10/25/20 08:00 AM Vacant Lot PBL Project The Vacant Lot Project is a Project-Based Learning designed project that asks students to look at a vacant lot in their community and determine what should go there that would create value for the community. This could be a business, nonprofit, community amenity, etc. The item selected for that location https://teacheverywhere.org/activity/vacant-lot-pbl-project/Print
The Vacant Lot Project is a Project-Based Learning designed project that asks students to look at a vacant lot in their community and determine what should go there that would create value for the community. This could be a business, nonprofit, community amenity, etc. The item selected for that location should be an economical, feasible choice for the city and its constituents to support. Students will conduct research and planning to design a business model that they will pitch. Only one business will be selected for investment by the city, so students must be prepared!2
- Share with your students the following: “You have been contracted by our city to identify what business should fill a vacant lot here in our community. The business selected for that location should be an economical, feasible choice for the city and its constituents to support. You will conduct research and planning to design a business model that you will then pitch. Only one business will be selected for investment by the city, so you must be prepared!”
Social and Emotional Skills
- In this activity, students are exercising Social Awareness as they are invited to explore virtually or in-person parts of their community that are vacant or lackluster. They will practice observation but also research and reflect on questions about the demographics, psychographics, and more of the community that might utilize that space. Through this process, students will be challenged to empathize with the information they are learning to proceed in the design thinking process for the remainder of the project. Students will practice perspective-taking and respect for others as they define the problem and ideate on possible solutions.
- In this activity, students are challenged with their Self-Management skills as this project has many facets. They will need to manage their stress, control their impulses, and discover what motivates them in order to best complete the project in full. During the phase Product Creation, students will practice their organizational skills to outline their business idea. They will use the Business Model Canvas as a tool to support this skill development. During the next phase, Pitch Preparation, and Presentation, students will practice stress management and impulse control to articulate their business concept in a clear, concise and compelling pitch to the judges or audience listening. They may practice things like repeating their pitch over and over in front of a mirror, their peers, or their teacher. They will need to practice strategies like taking deep breathes if they’re feeling their thoughts begin to race or their stomach begin to churn. Practicing positive affirmations may also be a key strategy to supporting the student’s confidence and self-motivation when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed with nerves.
- Determine how you will share the activity with your students.
- Determine any additional learning outcomes you expect your students to achieve.
- For example, do they need to address specific marketing, business finance, economics, or entrepreneurship standards in addition to the general expectations of the activity?
- Develop your project timeline, including deadlines and deliverables.
- Include a deadline of when your students need to share which vacant lot they would like to revitalize and any supplies they would need to complete the project.
- Determine how your students will reflect and receive feedback regularly throughout the project.
- Consider using EdTech tools to make this process fun and engaging for your students!
- Decide how the vacant lot will be selected. Here are some ideas:
- Allow the students to choose which vacant lot they want to address from the photos in the YE Academy activity.
- You can leave this wide open to the entire community or you could select a handful of vacant lots that the student would choose from.
- Select a specific lot that all students address.
- Explore your community resources – Some cities and universities have initiatives in place for repurposing vacant lots.
- Finding a community initiative could also open the door to project mentors, focus group participants, and/or presentation panelists.
- Decide if you will have students work individually, in groups, or allow student choice of who they work with.
- Consider having your students, whether working individually or in groups, complete an “Action Plan” – see this document posted in the lesson on YE Academy.
- Decide how you would like students to respond to any of the debrief questions after they complete the project and how they would do so.
- Post the activity to your classroom platform for students to access and complete or set up a collaborative video session to walk through the activity with students.
Throughout the project, it is important that students are reflecting on their work regularly. Check out the “Reflection Log” document posted in the lesson on YE Academy for an idea of how you could do this.
Part 1: Research
- Students must conduct research to learn more about their community, so they can decide what kind of business would be successful and beneficial. Allow students to generate their own driving questions – These are questions that push them through their research. What do they need to discover to help them answer the essential question of “Which business is the best addition in my community”? As they research, make sure they are recording what they learn – Check out the “Research Log” document in the lesson on YE Academy for a way to do this.
- Examples of driving questions might include:
- What are the demographics, psychographics, etc. of our community?
- What do community members think should go there?
- What was at that location previously (if anything)? Why did it fail?
- Examples of driving questions might include:
- Invite students to go on a community walkabout to view the vacant lot in person. This also allows the opportunity to see what environment surrounds the vacant lot (houses, businesses, etc.). Please maintain proper healthy and safety measures if doing this as a group in-person.
- Use Google Earth. Students can explore the entire community at their fingertips.
- Host a focus group (virtually). Invite in community members with connections to the property to share their inputs for what they think the community needs, what they would like to go in that location, etc.
Part 2: Product Creation
- Allow students the opportunity to choose what product they create to outline/develop their business idea.
- Option: Encourage students to create a business model to share their best idea for what should be developed in that location.
- Use the Business Model Canvas as extra practice and/or reinforcement for their understanding of the tool.
- If the idea is a not-for-profit business, have students use the Mission Model Canvas.
- IMPORTANT: Research continues through this part – Students will need to continue researching driving questions related to their business idea. Ideas to research might include those questions found in the “BIO Sheet Teacher Guide”.
Part 3 & 4: Pitch Preparation and Presentation
Have students prepare a brief pitch to share their business model. Here are some ideas of how you could set up this pitch:
- Class Pitch: Students will pitch their business model in front of the class, using whatever visual aid they feel best supports their idea (PowerPoint, Prezi, Book Creator, etc.)
- Video Pitch: Incorporate digital media and audio/visual skills by having students create a video pitch to share their idea. This could be posted to YouTube, Flipgrid, your classroom platform, or your school website and shared with community members.
- [Virtual] Gallery Walk: Students will upload a presentation to a virtual presentation site like Google Slides, Padlet, or others. The teacher can then assemble the presentations for visitors to virtually “walk” through. See more about assembling a virtual gallery walk here. Consider ways for visitors to give feedback to the presenters. If using Zoom, you may consider setting up a poll with the Group Names/Numbers to post at the end of the walk for visitors to vote.
- Judges Panel: Invite in community members, staff, administrators, etc. to attend a virtual panel to hear each pitch. The judges will provide feedback to the presenters. You could also have the judges select the top pitches.
Part 5: Post- Presentation Reflection
- Engage students in a reflection of the entire project. Ask them to think about what they learned and the process of how they learned it. Are they proud of their work? What would they do differently next time? Have them review back on their original Reflection Log entries and consider how they overcame barriers that were apparent in the beginning. How do they feel now after the project is complete?
- Optional: Expand this project to include a variety of other standards or competencies that your students may need more work in. For example, you could ask your students to design a marketing campaign or determine the cost of goods sold if they need to improve mastery in these areas. This project also allows for great cross-curricular opportunities, like collaborating with digital media classes to design logos or advertisements, with an economics classes to analyze the economic impact of the business idea, or an English class to write a research paper.
Students can complete the debrief in many ways. Some options include on paper, in a group setting via any virtual call platform, or by recording their feedback using EdTech tools and sharing with their classmates.
- Why do you think the lot was vacant to begin with?
- How did you decide what was the best value for the vacant lot?
- How did you decide which business idea to pursue?
- What influence did using Sound Judgment have on your selection of a business idea?
- Explain how Win-Win Focus played a role in completing this project.
- What did you discover about your community?
- What would have happened if you had not used Knowledge during your planning?
- What was the most challenging part of this project and why?
- How would you justify your business idea over all the others?
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