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Co-operating Companies


The leader should write the labels (below) beforehand on pieces of paper, or print them out. (Keep a note of the correct lists if you are not sure). Then cut them each in half (either between words, or in the middle of words), keeping the halves in two separate piles. Use pieces of sticky tack or rolled up sticky tape on the back of each piece, so they can be stuck onto a wall/blackboard.

Explain to the group that some businesses are run co-operatively and see if the children have heard of any which are. Try to give some local examples.

Write up two headings on the blackboard, or on paper stuck up on a wall: ‘Co-operative businesses’ and ‘Private businesses’. Divide the group into two teams, and give each team one pile of half-labels. Explain that they need to place the labels under the correct headings. This is made more complicated because each team only has one half of each label. Set a time limit for the task to be completed (maybe 5 minutes).

One person from each team can go up to the board at a time, with half a label. They can talk to each other and discuss if they think the combined label is correct, and where it should go. If it is not correct, they have to go back and sit down, and two different people go to the board with two new label pieces. Keep going until the teams are satisfied that all labels are complete and correct.

At the end ask the two teams how they felt about the activity. Explain that there is no winning team, because the idea was that they had to co-operate together to achieve a result – they are all winners! Check if the labels are correct, and briefly go over the main differences between the two types of businesses.



  • Owned by individual people or companies
  • Purpose is to make money for shareholders
  • Investors have one vote per share
  • Decisions made by board of directors


  • Owned by members
  • Purpose is to serve needs of members
  • Investors all have one vote
  • Decisions made by members and their representatives

Circletime Discussion Points:

  • What are the benefits of working in a co-operative way?
  • What are the drawbacks?
  • What would the world be like if everyone worked co-operatively?

Resources Required

Labels written out or printed, scissors, sticky tack/rolled up sticky tape, paper stuckon a wall/blackboard, a group of people.


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