This example of working with gifted students pertains to the creation of a business plan for the opening of a recycling yard within the school. The work with those who seek further knowledge is designed as a school project correlated with the subject of commercial orientation.
In addition to achieving the outcomes of the professional course, students also fulfill the outcomes of cross-curricular topics:
Use of ICT:
- The student independently conducts research to solve problems in the digital environment.
- The student articulates their view of solving complex problems using ICT.
- The student selects appropriate relationships and communication.
- The student develops a tolerant attitude towards others.
Personal and Social Development:
- The student develops self-image.
- The student uncovers personal potentials.
- The student learns collaboratively and works in a team.
- The student takes responsibility for their behavior.
Learning How to Learn:
- The student independently thinks critically and evaluates ideas.
- The student communicates effectively with others, cooperates successfully in different situations, and is ready to ask for and offer help.
- The student applies innovative and creative solutions.
- The student plans and manages activities.
- The student explains the connection between resource consumption and fair distribution to ensure general welfare.
- The student suggests ways to improve personal and general well-being.
In the classroom, during discussions between teachers and students, brainstorming using the idea generation method leads to students, in cooperation with the teacher, arriving at the conclusion that opening a recycling yard within the school, specifically in the open field next to the school’s parking lot, would be the best approach to enhance the school’s functioning.
The question of the uniqueness of the product arises – how would a recycling yard differ from others, and why would people choose to dispose of waste right next to a school? Could such a yard be economically justified?
Outcomes achieved by students:
- Identifying the brand of the “product” (meaning the school’s recycling yard) as a pivotal factor in the recognition of the economic entity.
- Creating the name, sign/logo, and slogan of the school’s recycling yard.
The school’s recycling yard would stand apart from others due to its capability to accept non-ferrous metals, wood, fabric, and rubber, in addition to the usual waste paper, cardboard, glass, and plastic. Students will strategize the acquisition of various containers for these secondary raw materials. The distinctiveness of the recycling yard lies in the sorting of collected old paper based on the European classification of paper waste, enhancing its appeal when purchased. Students will incorporate these differences when creating the name, logo, and slogan for the school’s recycling yard. Using tools like Turbologo Logo Maker or Wix, students will define the characteristics of the school’s recycling yard: a) The recycling yard’s name b) Sign/logo c) Slogan d) Possibly a trademark (a trademark is intellectual property that can consist of a name, word, phrase, symbol, image, or a combination of these elements)
After completing the creation process with the aid of a specific tool, a representative from each group will present the name, logo, and slogan of their company in front of the rest of the class. Students will self-evaluate and choose the best logo, recycling yard name, and slogan.
In correlation with the Marketing subject, students will achieve the following outcomes using a specific product as an example:
- Explaining the meaning of market segmentation
- Determining the elements that make a market segment appealing
- Describing consumer structures with examples
- Showing the characteristics of customers of their product on the final consumption market (geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral)
Market segmentation criteria can be geographic, demographic, psychographic, or behavioral. Today, different segmentation criteria are often combined. For the business plan’s purposes, the focus will be on the geographical segment, considering the school’s location and its proximity to the forest park.
Students will explore global experiences of “street” collection of secondary raw materials, primarily paper. They will study European experiences, such as Germany, and also experiences from South American countries like Brazil and Mexico, which unexpectedly excel in organizing the collection of secondary raw materials, especially paper. Students will learn as much as possible about the collection network in the city area of their school. After gathering all the data, students will create a PowerPoint presentation about their research and present the results based on secondary data. During the research process, in correlation with the Marketing course, students will achieve the following professional outcomes:
- Repeating the fundamental stages of market research
- Describing the activities in the market research process
- Listing the activities of the market research process for a specific product
- Interpreting the importance of a complete market research process
Additionally, students will conduct research via the Internet on the waste paper market in their country, utilizing the Chamber of Commerce to obtain data on supply and demand for waste paper and/or other waste. This research aims to determine if there are companies willing to purchase old paper and other waste from the school, which would economically justify the project of opening a recycling yard within the school. After these steps, students will create a survey using MS Forms and send it to companies involved in the purchase of waste paper and/or other waste. The students will be divided into groups, and each group will design a questionnaire about the interest in purchasing waste paper and/or other raw materials, comprising at least five questions to assist companies in analyzing potential customers and their purchasing preferences.
To further develop the business plan, students will need to determine and design the size of the recycling yard to accommodate containers and storage space for sorted paper. This space should be designed with minimal material handling in mind, ensuring the collection and sorting process occurs with the fewest possible steps for optimal financial efficiency. In this phase of the business plan, students will benefit from a free digital tool available on Homestyler. Autodesk Homestyler is a user-friendly digital tool allowing users to create 2D floor plans and 3D previews of the final appearance without requiring a user account.
Once the recycling yard’s floor plan is created, a representative from each group will present it to the rest of the class, providing a rationale for the space’s design while considering economic aspects as the basis for the business space’s layout.
Students will also outline the costs of purchasing containers, maintenance expenses, and potential costs for outsourced services. Utilizing research and data obtained from the customer survey, students will formulate their income plan. With this information, they will calculate the profitability of the recycling yard within the school.
Ivana Prezzi graduated in Management from the University of Economics in Zagreb in 1999. She has worked in various companies and as an entrepreneur in the past. Today, she is a teacher who enjoys imparting knowledge to students and collaborating with them. She teaches Economics at The Commercial and Trade School of Split in Croatia, Europe.