From Mystery to Must-Have

Grades K-2
Subjects: Literacy, You and Your World


Entrepreneurs have incredible creativity and unique perspective – they can turn an everyday, ordinary object and turn it into a product that no one thought of before.  In this activity, stretch your students’ creativity as they take a random mystery object and transform it into a must-have item for customers – just like a real entrepreneur!

What you’ll need 

  • PowerPoint Presentation From Mystery to Must-Have
  • 1 toothpick
  • Read Aloud: Not A Stick (by: Antoinette Portis)
  • A Must-Have Item Planning printable sheet From Mystery to Must-Have (or see PDF attached)
  • Random Objects in a reusable bag for students to choose (ex: brush, spatula, bowl, pencil holder, maraca)
  • Pencils
  • Recyclable materials (cardboard boxes, paper, newspaper, rubber bands, paperclips etc.) – optional


DISCUSSION: Gather students together and ask: “What is an entrepreneur?” Allow students to share their responses. An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business with great risk.  Then, have students share what type of person starts something new (examples: risk taker, thinker, knows what people need/want, organized, smart with money, etc.).  “Are there entrepreneurs in our community?”  Allow students to share new businesses that have launched near them.

CIRCLE GAME & READ ALOUD:  Gather students together in a circle.  Show them 1 toothpick and tell them the object of the game: “We are going to pass around this small piece of wood, BUT it’s NOT a toothpick!  I want you to be as creative, crazy, and give us another use for this object.  I’ll go first – This is NOT a toothpick, it’s a mouse’s sword!”  Pass the toothpick around the circle (allowing students to pass if desired) and share their NEW idea.  After every learner has had a turn, read “Not A Stick” (by: Antoinette Portis).  After reading, see if any ideas were the same, even though the stick is a little bigger in the story.

POWERPOINT ACTIVITY: One characteristic of an entrepreneur is also having a good “eye”.  Entrepreneurs can often see things that others may miss.  Do YOU have an “entrepreneurial eye”?  Using the PowerPoint slides 2-5, look at the given objects and see if students can also “see” another use for that item.  Using the arrow buttons, reveal what the inventors originally made the products for – then an entrepreneur saw something else and that’s what we know about them today!  Talk about if your guesses were close.

MYSTERY ITEM ACTIVITY: Allow students the option to work individually, in pairs or small groups of 3.  Have a variety of mystery items (that cannot be seen ahead of time) available so that each group can use 1.  Students will use their mystery item, along with their planning printable sheet (on Slide 6) and recyclable materials to turn it into a NEW must-have product headed to local stores!  (Note: students can add recyclable items to their mystery item ONLY if it does not destroy or compromise the item – no glue, no cutting the item, etc.).

After 20-25 minutes, have students share their creative NEW must-have product with the class showcasing what it was before and detailing what it is now!

REFLECTION: Gather as a group to discuss the following questions: Was it challenging creating something new from not a new object?  What would you do differently next time if you were given another mystery object to transform?  What did you learn about being an entrepreneur that you didn’t know before today?  Could you see yourself being an entrepreneur?

CAREER CONNECTIONS: Looking at Slide 7 of the PowerPoint Presentation, discuss as a class how entrepreneurs at TRACC Tire Recycling in Minto “saw” old tires. Feel free to visit their website: on more products that they are making. Discuss: “Are there other items, like old tires, that we can re-use or see new purpose in?  How might this help our school, our community, and our world?”

NB Cross-Curricular Outcomes 

You and Your World

K 3.2 use one or more of their senses to explore the characteristics of materials, noting how materials can be manipulated

1.4.1 demonstrate an understanding that the way people live in their community evolves over time

2.3.1 appreciate the changing nature of work


GCO 1:  Students will speak and listen to explore, extend, clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences.

GCO 2:  Students will be able to communicate information and ideas effectively and clearly, and to respond personally and critically.

GCO 8. Students will be expected to use writing and other forms of representation to explore, clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and learnings; and to use their imaginations.

NB Career Education Framework

Thinking about my potential future in work: K-2 – I can tell you about some of the different jobs that people do and whether I would like to do them.  I could do any job I want when I am older.

NB Global Competencies  


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