Making crayons is all business for Fitzhugh sixth-grade students

With the work spread out before them, Leah Taylor and Nick Holland (front row), are joined by their teacher Carol Carroll along with board of education member Tom DeCastro, Entergy representatives Kelly Sawyer and Nancy Czerow, Fitzhugh Principal Donna Simmons and Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist.

Names such as “Color Crunchers,” “Kiddy’s Crayons,” “Kooky Crayons,” “Color the World,” and “Crazy Colors Inc.” filled the board in Carol Carroll’s sixth grade classroom at Fitzhugh Park Elementary School.

The crayon companies had a CEO as well as staff who worked on not only creating a new, unique product, but also planned how to market the sale of crayons.

For several years, Carroll has been involved with “Green Chemistry,” which provides a variety of experiences.

Carroll has brought the program to life through the continuing support of Entergy.

She explained, “The ‘Green Chemistry’ curriculum, based on the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, is designed to be a simulation of actual business methodology in which students are challenged to manufacture a crayon. It introduces students to the topic of Green Chemistry and provides a hands-on inquiry-based unit in which students can explore this approach to chemical manufacturing.”

Initially, students work in teams to make crayons, but this project is much more than meets the eye, she said.

“Students are learning about sustainability and they are learning the business sense of what creating a crayon company would encompass,” said Carroll. “They have to make numerous wide ranging decisions.”

Each group of students becomes a company with a CEO, environmental and financial representatives. The groups chose materials. They compare product selection in using soy beans versus paraffin.

Carroll noted, “There are also additives that enhance crayons and they have to decide which are the best to use. When they are done they have to consider cost of the production as well as figure out how much waste that was entailed by their work.”

Even when the crayon production is complete there are other challenges facing the students.

The students base their business on the production of 10,000 crayons. Carroll noted, “The next step is that we go into marketing and they analyze labels of various products as well as commercials. They will eventually create a commercial, which will be presented along with the packaging and final crayons at the completion of the project.”

Eventually the “most sustainable crayon” and the “most efficient and effective company” will be selected for the “Green Chemistry Award.”

Carroll discovered this program in 2003 as she commenced working with the Keystone Center in Colorado.

She had been working with the group since that time and her students continue to benefit from her decision to be involved with Keystone.

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