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Gaining cooperative experience

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Age group

Students ages 6 to 11



Time required

1 week or more, depending on the project.

Area of learning

Citizenship and community life

Activity summary

Students learn about cooperative values and cooperatives in their community, and will create their own cooperative project.

Financial and cooperative skills

  • Learn about teachwork (ages 6 and 7)
  • Understand complementary strengths of different team members(ages 8 and 9)
  • Recognize cooperative values (ages 10 and 11)
  • Identify local cooperatives (ages 6 and 7)
  • Understand the role of members in a cooperative (ages 8 to 11)
  • Define what is a cooperative and recognize different types of cooperatives (ages 10 and 11)


Subject-specific competencies

  • Mathematics
  • English Language Arts

Cross-curricular competencies

  • Uses information (QEP 2011)
  • Uses creativity (QEP 2011)
  • Adopts effective work methods (QEP 2011)


Students learn cooperative values and how they apply


Time required

1 hour

Task 1

Cooperative businesses

Task 1 objective

By the end of this task, students will know the differences between cooperatives and other businesses.



Task 2

Encouraging competition and cooperation in class

Task 2 objective

At the end of this task, students will be able to differentiate between cooperation and competition.


  • Discuss the idea of competition with students.
  • Tell students they will be participating in a short story competition using 4 words written on the board. Specify that the best story will be read in other classes of the same level and posted in the hall or school newspaper. The goal is to stimulate competition among students.
  • Have students read their stories out loud and have them vote for the best story.
  • Ask students to describe the experience.
  • Explain the difference between competition and cooperation using the Cooperative Values poster.
  • Ask students to do a cooperative activity. Use the Cooperation! sheet
  • Point out the advantages of cooperation.


Students take part in planning and carrying out a cooperative project


Time required

30 minutes in class over 1 week to finish the project in school

Task 1

Finding a common need at school

Task 1 objective

By the end of this task, students will have identified a school need and that will serve as an incentive to start a cooperative within the school.


  • Suggest that students organize a cooperative at school.
  • Remind students that a cooperative is formed to meet a common need. Explain how that could be applied in school.
  • Lead a class discussion and identify 2 or 3 common needs for project participants. Write each group’s suggestions on the How to Plan a Cooperative Project sheet. Give the sheet to another class until it has been filled out by all participants and ultimately given to the project leader.
  • The project leader meets with representatives from each class or level, depending on the model chosen by the school, and a common need is chosen from the list.
  • The project leader or representatives from each class or level then announces the common need that was chosen for the cooperative project.


Time required

Depends on project

Task 2

Organizing the project

Task 2 objective

By the end of this task, students will have planned the major steps necessary to carry out their project and will have assigned tasks.


  • Call a meeting of the leading committee and fill out page 1 of the planning guide for cooperative projects.
  • Consult with all participants to find out what each class or committee wants to do to contribute.
  • Plan the activities and fill out page 2 of the guide using what was discussed in the consultation meeting. The ideas do not need to be detailed. Each committee or class will be responsible for detailing the steps of the process.
  • Fill out Part A of page 3 of the guide for each class or committee and give it to the representative.
  • Each class or committee is responsible for putting the ideas into action.


Time required

Depends on the project

Task 3

Inviting local cooperatives

Task 3 objective

By the end of this task, students will have practiced inter-cooperation by asking local cooperatives to collaborate and participate with them.


If the project requires financing, the school may ask for assistance from a local cooperative.


Task 4

Carrying out a cooperative project

Task 4 objective

By the end of this task, students will have carried out their project with the assistance of the school staff.


  • Every committee or class carries out their assigned tasks. Some tasks may involve all or some school staff
  • Record the goal (e.g., an amount of money to collect or number of objects to collect). Use several thermometers if the project has several goals. Hang the thermometers on the walls throughout the school so all students can see them.


Students evaluate their participation in the cooperative project, including their process and goals.


Task 1

Thinking about cooperative experience

Task 1 objective

By the end of the task, you will have evaluated the students' understanding of cooperations and their commitment in the cooperative project.


  • Hand out the Cooperative Experience Evaluation to students
  • Ask students to fill out the grid. Direct students to number 3 and explain each value. Give examples without making a direct link to the project to allow the students to make the connection themselves.
  • Discuss the experience with students.