Authors: Greg McKee, North Dakota State University, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Donald Frederick, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.
Summary: This page provides links to a syllabus designed for high school teachers who are interested in informing their students about cooperatives. The syllabus is designed to accompany the Co-ops 101: An Introduction to Cooperatives“book.” Whether it be part of a social studies, Ag Ed or Ag Business class, this syllabus provides an excellent teaching structure for the topic of cooperative business. Below, there are links to the entire syllabus as well as to the individual chapters and bonus materials. All the materials are attached at the bottom of the page and can be downloaded as PDF documents.
Chapters One and Two cover cooperative history and principles. After reading the chapters, students should be able to:
a. Recognize key words and concepts relating to the cooperative movement.
b. Identify fundamental characteristics, principles and guidelines used by a cooperative.
c. Describe the formation and purpose of cooperatives.
d. Explain how cooperatives will impact them.
Chapter Three helps students understand how cooperatives work and how they benefit the community. After the lesson, students should be able to:
a. List four types of cooperatives found in their local community or surrounding area.
b. Provide an example of each of the four types of cooperatives.
c. Describe the significance of each of the four types of cooperatives.
d. Calculate the benefits provided by cooperatives.
Chapter Four discusses the benefits of cooperatives. After the lesson, students should be able to:
a. List the benefits of belonging to a cooperative.
b. Identify the most important aspects of the benefits of cooperatives.
c. Explain the benefits of a cooperative to the community.
Chapter Five compares and examine the different types of business organization. After the lesson, students should be able to:
a. List and define the five business types.
b. List the characteristics of each business type.
c. Classify community businesses.
d. Draw conclusions about the advantages and limitations of each business type.
After the lesson, students should be able to:
a. List three ways to categorize a cooperative.
b. Describe each category by its membership.
c. List three functions that may be performed by cooperatives.
d. Determine classifications by size of a regional cooperative business found in their local community or surrounding area.
Students will understand the people and team elements that make up a successful cooperative and be able to:
a. Compose questions about cooperatives.
b. Identify the most important information presented by a cooperative manager.
c. List the four groups of people/team elements that are integral to a cooperative.
d. Explain the function of each team element.
Chapter Eight talks about user ownership and the different ways cooperatives can accumulate equity. Students will be able to:
a. Define equity.
b. Name the three primary methods by which members provide equity to their cooperative.
c. Describe and compare the following sources of equity to the cooperative: direct investment, retained margins, per-unit capital retains and non-member earnings.
Chapter Nine discusses the tax treatments when allocating the various sources of equity. The students will be able to:
a. Describe and match the sources of equity contributed by members with the types of equity allocated by cooperatives.
b. List the four ways patronage-based equity sources can be allocated.
c. Describe the tax consequences to both the cooperative and the recipient when allocating: cash refunds, qualified retained earnings, nonqualified retained earnings and unallocated reserve.
d. Calculate taxable income on qualified allocations from the cooperative to the member.
Additional Class Activities
a. Live class activity to discuss the economics of cooperation
b. Net income worksheet
c. Pre-post test