There’s no better time in a child’s life to learn about business than middle school.
Business education lesson plans are a key part of introducing students to real-world concepts that they may have missed otherwise.
Ideas like professionalism, job-seeking skills, and even timeliness may never have crossed your students’ radar before. But if they’re going to succeed in a real-world career, then your students have to know about them!
Laura Randazzo is a prolific publisher on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT), the go-to website for selling and sharing lesson plans. She has a lot of business-related lesson plans in her profile, but there’s one in particular that other lesson planners tend to overlook: How to Write Business Emails.
Because modern Americans are surrounded by email every day, it’s easy to take it for granted that we just know how to write emails.
But there’s a certain artistry to writing business correspondence well: It has to be polite. It has to be concise. Most importantly, it has to be relevant.
Randazzo covers all of these communication skills (and then some) in a quick 45 minutes. Her lesson involves a Prezi lecture, sample email evaluation, email-writing practice, and a PDF guide.
All in all, this is a great lesson to complement an established middle school business curriculum. It adds extra color and useful information to your syllabus without derailing one unit or another.
But email is just the start. What if you want to teach students something a little more complex?
2. Business Plan Activity (Gavin Middleton)
Gavin Middleton is another common name on TpT. Middleton’s lessons relate to business education pretty often, but one in particular stands out among the rest.
Middleton’s Business Plan Activity is intense, to say the least. He’s actually created about 30 pages of business content that students use as examples to guide them through each section of their own business plan.
This lesson shows them how to create a business, how businesses start, what its founders need to consider, the most common difficulties they might face, and more. All in all, it's a great way to have students learn by example while adding their own fun spin to an idea.
However, it's important to note that for middle school students, some of the items in this lesson may be a little too advanced to complete. For example, your kids probably haven't the slightest idea what it would cost to start up their dream video game studio.
On the other hand, some areas of the business plan – like the executive summary and target market – are easier to understand. So while some parts of Middleton’s lesson may be over a few students’ heads, the primary content is still excellent material for middle school students to know.
Fortunately, there’s a simpler version available from another great lesson plan publisher.
The concepts in this lesson are similar to the ones in Middleton’s, but the content is better oriented toward a middle school student’s understanding.
This lesson breaks a business plan into four easy parts – marketing, profiting, funding, and planning. In each stage, students perform different tasks to learn more about it.
They can partially learn about that through videos that are shot and published by Biz Kids. While these cost extra, they’re well worth the investment in terms of creating an engaging, entertaining, and helpful learning aid for students.
Altogether, the recommended videos take about 45 minutes and the lesson’s activities take about 60. That makes this lesson great for a week or so of classes, depending on how your school’s schedule works.
As an aside, this lesson is also available in Spanish, which sets it apart from many others in terms of appealing to a diverse range of students.
This is definitely a solid option, but what if you want something that digs deep into a broad range of topics? How do you turn business education into a month- or quarter-long journey for your students?
4. Business Education Lesson Plans & Projects (Tonya Skinner)
Tonya Skinner is a business education aficionado with a host of lesson plans and classroom resources all in one place.
On her website, Skinner goes beyond the basics of business education (like starting a company) and jumps into more nuanced, detailed topics, like business law, business technology, international business, and more.
Each topic contains a laundry list of resources that any business teacher can use to introduce and reinforce a variety of business concepts.This makes Skinner’s resources a great way to supplement an existing curriculum with interesting, specific topics.
So if you’re talking about the lifespan of a business, you can start with students making their own lesson plan, then move into talking about how companies grow, even internationally.
You can wrap all of that up with a discussion of how smaller companies and bigger companies are different in just about every way, from how they operate to the laws that apply to them.
With Skinner’s resources on your side, you can do all of this, and your students will learn more for it!
Still, Skinner is just one teacher. Up to this point, we’ve only looked at individual teachers and smaller organizations that publish business education resources.
So what do you do if you want business education lesson plans from a well-known and established company?
5. JA BizTown (Junior Achievement)
JA BizTown is a highly-refined program that teaches students about business principles by making them the mayor of a fictional town.
This program is best suited for early middle school--particularly the sixth grade--and helps those students learn a variety of concepts through the use of engaging online materials like video.
BizTown has a total of 14 resources, each with its own unique lessons that follow a certain theme. For example, the theme of unit #1 is “financial services.”
Each of these resources roughly corresponds to what you’d consider a classroom lesson, which means they BizTown has enough material to fill about 14 class periods with valuable, helpful information.
One of the best parts is, not only does BizTown cover standard business education, but also soft skills, 21st Century skills, and more. This means you can do a lot (and teach a lot) just by using JA BizTown.
Need More Business Lesson Plans for Your Middle Schoolers?
Laying a solid foundation in business for your middle schoolers is key to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and industry leaders. If you can find the right resources to inspire your kids, they'll leave your class ready to take on the world.
However, with all of the business activities and lesson plans out there, it's easy to get lost and confused as to where you should look to find the best resources. Where do you start? What does your class need?
This in-depth guide will help you find the best lessons for your students, based on what kind of course you teach, what issues you're facing in the classroom, and what materials you need to make your course one your students remember.