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57 Varieties of Interdependence
Equipment & Supplies
  • Overhead projector Transparencies and markers Chalkboard and chalk Pennsylvania Map Jar of Heinz horseradish sauce

Day One

Begin the class by asking the students, "Has anyone ever heard of Henry J. Heinz?" Who is he? What did he do? What was Heinz famous for? Expect ketchup to be the most common answer.

Distribute Student Worksheet 1: The Henry Heinz Story. Ask students to read the story silently or to take turns reading out loud as a group.

Explain to the students that Heinz did not get his start with pickles or ketchup, he actually began with horseradish sauce–show a jar of Heinz horseradish sauce. Ask if any students have tasted horseradish.

Share with the class that Henry J. Heinz, the son of German immigrants, first made this product in the 1860s in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania. Write "Sharpsburg" on chalkboard (or ask a student to write it) and show the location of Sharpsburg on a Pennsylvania map.

Open the jar of horseradish. (Use caution–the aroma is pungent–do not have students directly smell the contents.) Let the jar stand open and students will soon smell the horseradish. Ask the students to describe the smell. Establish the point with students that the aroma was one of the reasons why Henry decided to make it and sell it.

Using the chalkboard or an overhead transparency, ask students to help list the ingredients for the horseradish sauce and other supplies that Henry needed to produce and sell his product. (Have students refer back to Student Worksheet 1: The Henry Heinz Story as needed.) Which items would he have had at his house? Which would he have had to get from somewhere else? List items might include: horseradish root, vinegar, salt, glass jars, lids, labels, utensils and implements (graters, spoons, bowls etc.), boxes or crates, advertising, transportation, etc.

Have the students answer the questions at the bottom of Student Worksheet 1: The Henry Heinz Story, as a class. Point out to students that these are the kinds of questions that any person or company asks and answers before beginning a business. Ask students to start to think about a product they might make and sell, as Heinz did.

Day Two

Remind the class that yesterday they listed many products associated with Henry J. Heinz and the Heinz company. From the horseradish business, other products were introduced and the company grew.

Whether or not they had the answer "pickle," show the class Primary Source 1-Heinz Workers. Ask some questions about this picture:

  • Does it look as though it was taken recently? Why or why not?(no–dress styles, utensils, backdrop, black and white image)

  • Do you think this picture shows how all Heinz pickles were made? Why or why not? (probably not practical for large quantities)

  • Why would Henry J. Heinz use this picture to advertise his pickles? (communicates "home made" quality)

Then show Primary Source 2-Heinz Delivery Wagon. Ask students:

  • Can you figure out how the wagon is pulled? (horse or mule)

  • Why would Heinz go to the trouble of decorating the wagon? (advertise specific products/have the Heinz name become more familiar/let people know the company is in Pittsburgh)

Refer to the list made on Day One of ingredients for the horseradish sauce and the other supplies that Henry needed to produce and sell his product.

Using an overhead projector or chalkboard and Student Worksheet 2-Interdependence Web, have students show that they understand how Heinz began his business by filling in items from the list onto the web.

See Teacher Guide 2-Interdependence Web for Horseradish Sauce. Your class may list other examples.

Put a checkmark by those items Henry might have had to buy or trade from somewhere else. Ask students to suggest how Henry might have obtained those items (paid for them, done chores in exchange for them, offered finished horseradish sauce in exchange, etc.).

Introduce the word "interdependence" and have a student write it on the board. Ask students to discuss what they think that word means and how it might apply to a business. (Pennsylvania State Academic Standards uses the following definition for interdependence: ideas, goods, and services in one area affect decisions and events in other areas, reducing self-sufficiency.)

Write or have a student write the word "specialization" on the board. Ask students to discuss what that word means and how it might apply to a business. (Pennsylvania State Academic Standards use the following definition for specialization: a form of division of labor in which each individual or firm concentrates its productive efforts on a single or limited number of activities.)

Discuss why specialization and interdependence allow businesses to focus on their most important goals or their highest priorities. Using the horseradish example and looking at the interdependence web, discuss what kinds of businesses Henry would have had to develop if he produced all of the items needed for horseradish sauce. (vinegar production, salt mining and refining, jar manufacturing and the components of glass and lids, etc.)
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