Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Entrepreneurship Is Elementary

Source: ASIDE, 5th Grader
In our current education system, most entrepreneurship classes and programs are at the college level. Yet many of the entrepreneurs behind some of our most famous brands, including Mrs. Field’s, Domino’s Pizza and Mary Engelbreit Enterprises, started as teenagers with an idea. We think young kids can learn to think big. When given the opportunity to develop their ideas, they do more than surprise us. Our Kid Entrepreneur program for 5th graders is designed to do just that.

One of the first activities, after watching several videos, is to brainstorm the traits of an entrepreneur. We changed the “think outside the box” to a “circle.” The continuous unending line of the circle implies movement, whereas the box suggests containment.

Source: ASIDE, 5th Grader
The circle, too, allows for placement of ideas anywhere and subliminally changes the arrangement of things away from brainstorming a list along the side of a box. We encourage them to sketch and write anything that comes to mind about the traits of an entrepreneur. From the results you see in this post, many enjoy the freedom of this activity.

So how do we start? We kick off the brainstorming activity with the inspirational video "Entrepreneurs Can Change the World" from the Grasshopper group. It is a creative introduction to the topic, with an emphasis that the next entrepreneur could be you. The infographic storytelling design of this video makes it very appealing to kids.



The students get a kick out of it, too, because it starts off with, “Do you remember when you were a kid and you thought you could do anything?” We always hear, "but we are kids," when they've finished watching. That’s the point: we want them to know they can turn ideas into reality and that we believe they can do it.

They also view "What Is an Entrepreneur?" from Entrepreneurweek. This gives the students an opportunity to hear from a group of panelists as they candidly explain the way entrepreneurs think. Again the design of the video is engaging for kids. The text, which is primarily in black and white, bouncing in and out as each person speaks about what it takes to be entrepreneur, sends a clear message to young learners.



Even the 30-second commercial “Will It Be You?” from the Kauffman Foundation drives home the point that "you" can be the next entrepreneur. Many of our students saw this commercial air during the Super Bowl this past February. We make all of these videos available on our Kid Entrepreneur wiki page, and most students go back and watch them over again.

Source: ASIDE, 5th Grader
Many kids today did not sell lemonade on the corner to strangers walking and driving by, and a large majority of their lives outside of school are orchestrated around scheduled sport practices, music lessons, and play dates. We know there are dreamers out there, but they have less and less time to think and wonder about ideas. That’s why we feel it’s important to bring entrepreneurship into the classroom. This project-based learning unit is interdisciplinary by its nature and bridges learning across grade levels by making connections to real-life. Kids can do amazing things; we just need to let them.

3 comments:

  1. great article about entrepreneurship! I enjoyed reading it! I truly appreciate famous entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, Richard Branson or Yuri Mintskovsky. I would like to meet these great people in person! We can learn so many important and useful things from them!

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