by Andrew Ragan, Middle School History Teacher
Seventh Graders recently tackled the “Game of Empire” to immerse themselves in the economics of Colonial America. Imitating Europe’s mercantile system of the 18th century, teams of students representing the Southern Planters, New England Merchants, European Merchants, Colonial Farmers, and British West Indian Planters competed to gain the largest percentage of goods they needed to prosper. Students checked their inventories, bargained with traders from other groups, procured shipping, and sailed loaded ships across the sea to deliver their goods.
Ship journeys were not always successful, however: storms sank ships, pirates seized cargo, and the British Navy stopped many vessels to check whether goods were being smuggled. Apparently, the Navy was open to bribery, as it ended the game with an inexplicably large amount of hard cash. Some teams made a killing when they realized that they held monopolies on certain goods that other teams had to have. Students raced around the room in great bursts of energy during four trading rounds, each begun and ended with a “royal flourish” from a tuba and trumpet player.
After the last round, each team tabulated its purchases and sales and calculated what percentage of goods they had acquired. All the seventh graders “won” in the end by learning just how complicated the mercantile trading system was in the Colonial Age and how much fun it is to simulate that in the “Game of Empire.”
Andrew RaganAndrew came to teach Middle School History at Allendale Columbia School after 20 years in educational publishing and living in Pittsburgh, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and the Adirondacks. He began writing for young people at Junior Scholastic magazine and has since published hundreds of articles in such magazines as JS, Scholastic News, Disney Adventures, Creative Classroom, and more. After teaching freshman composition at the University of Southern California for several years, Andrew served as the Senior Editor for Disney Adventures Magazine. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communications, with honors, from Carnegie Mellon University and his master's degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, The Birches
The second annual Entrepreneur Day at Allendale Columbia School took place on Friday, May 3rd. John Sullivan, Lower School Director, and Martha Bjorklund, Enrichment Specialist, were in charge of the event. Third, Fourth, and Fifth grade students set up businesses and sold their handmade products to the school community. Profits from the day will be donated to Crosby’s Fund, a local charity for pediatric cancer research at the Wilmot Cancer Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital at The University of Rochester, NY. This charity was chosen by the participating students. This day provided many opportunities for our students. It gave them a chance to understand how a business is built and how it runs. It next allowed the students to be creative and original in their thinking as they develop products for their business. Finally, it afforded them the opportunity to feel the gift of giving to an organization that benefits other people.
In preparation for Entrepreneur Day students were required to complete a business plan, decide either to be a sole proprietor or form a partnership, and spend time making their products in preparations for the event. Four local Entrepreneurs came to speak to the students before Entrepreneur Day.
- Keith Wilson CFO of Sweetwater Energy
- Penelope Pankow of F. Oliver’s Oils & Vinegars (read more about Penelope’s visit here)
- Tanvi Asher owner of Peppermint
- Andy August owner of Park Ave. Bike Shop
Each speaker offered their advise, shared their expertise on how to run a successful business, and told the students many stories about starting and running their own businesses.
Entrepreneur Day gave the Allendale Columbia Lower School students the experience of what it is like to own and operate a business. It was a wonderfully creative day with so many original items being made and sold.
“The learning that takes place is exciting and authentic, and that is what we are all about at Allendale Columbia.” said Martha Bjorklund, Enrichment Specialist.
Over $1000.00 dollars were raised for Crosby’s Fund, and everyone in the school community enjoyed the experience.
Posted in: Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Lower School, Third Grade