Grade school students are learning about business with a candlemaking project, and their classroom resembles a busy workshop.
At Lake Asbury Elementary School, Laurie Corcoran’s class is busy pouring hot wax into containers, making wicks, or hammering crimps from old candles. Some are practicing sales techniques. There are 17 students from Lake Asbury Elementary and two from Ridgeview High and two from Lake Asbury Jr. High. Money made from the sale of the candles will fund class parties or field trips.
Corcoran is enthusiastic about this type of project based learning because of the variety of tasks. There are physical tasks that allow students to be artistic. There is also an entrepreneurial benefit, when students sell candles and manage the money they make.
“The students work to their strengths whether it be wrapping, selling, something artistic, or pouring,” Corcoran said. “It’s so different than the traditional paper-pencil task and life skills are not something you cannot get in the classroom, so we’re taking it on the road.”
Corcoran is a 30 year teaching veteran. She has used project based learning in the past, to teach students problem solving skills. Her classes have made clocks, birdhouses, and Christmas ornaments from recycled materials.