Bringing Social Entrepreneurship to the High School Classroom

Teaching entrepreneurship education in the classroom can be done in many ways.  As an educator of teaching entrepreneurship, I have had the opportunity to develop my course for more than a decade.  As a rookie teacher, I approached the course by teaching traditionally from the text book and required students to read a chapter, take notes, and assess students with a textbook unit exam.  I came to realize overtime and from student survey feedback that students became bored learning this way.  As an educator, I reached out to seek additional entrepreneurial resources to enhance my lesson plans and teaching methods. The resources I found successful included Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (www.nfte.com) which offers E-Learning workshops, Professional Development, and National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenges.  30hands Project-Based Learning is another resources I have used to teach entrepreneurship (www.30hands.com). Attending Massachusetts Business Education Association conferences (www.mbea-ma.org), EdCamps (edcamp.org), and networking and sharing information with other business educators enhanced and gave me new ideas and approaches to improve my classroom entrepreneurship lesson plans. Students become motivated about learning entrepreneurship from guest speakers, entrepreneurial case studies, field trips, and ideas and concepts that they have a voice in.

In the Spring of 2016, I decided to add a social entrepreneurship element to my high school entrepreneurship class.  Students brainstormed ways in which our class could actually create a product and the funds raised from the sale would go to a charitable cause.  Together, we came up with many ideas.  We narrowed our choice down to creating 3D printed key chains designed and created by students.  The project was called Keychains Against Cancer.  Four student teams were created for this non-profit venture:

  • Sales Team– Meet with customers, deliver key chains when sales person cannot, consult customers for reviews/Provide customer service when necessary, keep track of sales and deliveries
  • Marketing Team – Create posters, tags, and get the word out about our product using social media (twitter and email), package key chains
  • Manufacturing Team – Design key chains, run the 3D printer, watch 3D printer in case of malfunction
  • Finance Team Keep track of and collect all money, collaborate with other teams to ensure people have paid before receiving the product

Key chains were sold for $5 each and my entrepreneurship class sold 95 key chains and collected revenue of $475 which was donated to South Shore Hospitals Cancer Care Unit.  We invited the charity executive and to our high school where we hosted a little reception, refreshments were served, and charitable check was directly donated to South Shore Hospital.  Students completed anonymous peer student review assessment surveys to grade each other and additionally students were required, individually or in teams of two, to create a business plan PowerPoint on this social entrepreneurship project and present it to the class.  Here is one example of Key Chains Against Cancer Business Plan PowerPoint: http://tinyurl.com/KAC-BP-PPT

Bringing real-world experience into the curriculum through service-learning and through instructor involvement to design opportunities in the classroom and in community service involvement can improve a student’s experience and have an impact on their learning.  Projects like Keychains for Cancer motivated students to learn and become involved.


 

 


About the blogger: Julie Giglia has been a Business/Technology teacher at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School for 13 years.  Recently, she was awarded 2016 Massachusetts Business Teacher of the Year.  In February of 2015, she was named Visa Practical Money Skills Innovative Educator for the Month of February.  She has written and won two grants to support 3D printer technology for Whitman-Hanson Regional High School from Mass Cue and Otter Box Cares foundation.  She strives to use technology in the classroom to enhance learning and make education innovative and fun for her students. Connect with her on Twitter @julegig or at julie.giglia@whrsd.org.

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