Entries Categorized as 'student run business'

Right hand “man”

October 1, 2010

Lunch on Wednesdays follows our main block of Student Run Business time. It’s after they’ve delivered pizza, prep-ed for a week of bread, completed finance and its reports, prepared and processed order forms, and sorted out the plants.

Over the last couple weeks I’ve started having my students discuss the business over lunch (including finance reports presentations) and it’s turning into a regular board meeting.

Today they started assigning seating.

We usually sit around two long tables set end to end, with the main supervisor on one end and myself at the other. Today the main supervisor started laying out plates and positions. Pizza supervisor to his right, bread to his right, finances one down from bread and sales across from finances. Everyone else could find their own spot.

I was a little surprised at this unprompted expression of hierarchy. Pizza is our most involved part of the business and the core of the the enterprise so its supervisor, P., has a very important post. She was placed on the right hand of the main supervisor!

I asked the main supervisor why he did it. He said, “I don’t know.” I even had to explain the meaning of the term, ‘right hand “man”‘.

It ended up with the supervisors at one table and everyone else (and myself) at the other.

Except for the plants supervisor. Plants have been going slowly, lately, including some seedling failures. The plant supervisor sat all the way down the table, next to me.

I can feel it in my bones that there are some interesting lessons in all this. From organizational structure to non-verbal communication.

But since we’re dealing with positions around a table, and we’ve been talking about the importance of place in geography, the best context to discuss this right now might just be one of the importance of geography and place in the interactions among people.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Right hand "man", Retrieved February 23rd, 2018, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Oven calibration

September 19, 2010

Initial oven calibration curves (2009).

Catastrophic failure of one of our ovens! Last year when we started up the bread business, we bought two counter-top ovens within a couple of weeks of each other. They needed to be extra-large to fit two loaves of bread each, which made them a little hard to find. We got a EuroPro oven first, and when we found that it worked pretty well, we went back to try to get another. But just a week later, the store was out of stock and that type of oven could not be found in the city of Memphis or its environs.

Instead we got a GE model. The price was about the same, as was the capacity. We quickly realized that the GE was quite the inferior product. The temperature in the oven was never the same as what was set on the dial. Our bread supervisor at the time ran a calibration experiment, the results of which you can see above, so we still managed to use the oven. Only this year, three weeks into the term, it conked out.

We sold at least one underdone loaf before we realized what had happened, and received a detailed letter in response (which our current bread supervisor handled wonderfully in his own well worded letter). Fortunately, we have found a newer version of our EuroPro oven, which seems to work quite well.

I like the oven calibration exercise. It was a nice application of the scientific process to solve an actual problem we had with the business. Though I know it’s not quite the same, I like the idea of doing annual oven calibrations just to check the health of our equipment and help students realize that the scientific process is a powerful way of looking at the world, not just something you do in science.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Oven calibration, Retrieved February 23rd, 2018, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Financial reports and statistics

September 18, 2010

Sally, our school’s business manager, was kind enough to come in last month to help the financial department of the student run business organize its books. It was long overdue. We’d been improving our record keeping over the last couple years, but now we have much more detailed records of our income and expenses.

This is great for a number of reasons, the first of which is that students get some good experience working with spreadsheets. We use Excel, which in my opinion is far and away Microsoft’s best product (I’ve been using OpenOffice predominantly for the last year or so because, it improved quite a bit recently, and I’m a glutton for certain kinds of punishment.) I’ve been surprised by how many students get into college unable to do basic tables and charts, but hopefully this is changing.

The second reason is that the Finance committee can now use the data to give regular reports; income, expenses, profit, loss, all on a weekly basis. I expect the Bread division to benefit the most, since it has regular income and expenses, offering students frequent feedback on their progress. We’re now collecting a long-term, time-series data-set that will be very nice when we get to working on statistics in math later on.

In fact, we should be able to use this data to make simple financial projections. Linear projections of how much money we’ll have for our end-of-year trip will tie into algebra quite nicely, and, if we’re feeling ambitious, we can also get into linear regressions and the wave-like properties of the time series of data.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Financial reports and statistics, Retrieved February 23rd, 2018, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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