for Entrepreneurship Activities in the Schools

Teachers are great sources of ideas for learning activities that provide experience in entrepreneurial skills...and often they don't even know they are doing so. Any teacher in the secondary schools can help students understand the opportunities of our entrepreneurial economy by infusing entrepreneurship-related activities in their regular course of study. Such experiences may change the vision of their future for many of our youth.

As you seek to infuse entrepreneurship in any type of studies, math, language skills, science, business classes, career exploration etc., the teacher should think about the 15 Standards identified by entrepreneurs as the knowledge skills and attitudes important for students to address as they think about becoming an entrepreneur. Check out the National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education for ideas about creating entrepreneurship activities for any type of curriculum.

Be sure that your activities encourage students to think creatively...not just to determine how business operates now. Help them to ask questions about how businesses might be created in new and better ways, using new and different processes. Open their eyes to the entrepreneurial opportunities that are all around us.

Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship

(The following suggestions were contributed by teachers in a brainstorming activity as part of the New Jersey School-to-Work Coordinators' Meeting. You might try this with a staff of teachers in your school...dividing them up into discipline small groups and encouraging creative thinking. Then take the best ideas and implement them in the classroom).

Social Studies and Entrepreneurship

* Students set up a Small Town USA program in which they determine what types of business are needed.

* Unit on "Workplace Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow", bring in pictures and describe, talk to parents and/or grandparents. Expand on "Workplace Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" and note changes in technology, communications, transportation, and skills needed. Identify the cost of products in 1900 versus cost of products in the year 2000. Explain how wages are also part of the price. Discuss a business that reflects products from time past which are still able to be sold and how to market such products.

* Map out a voyage, the ship is destroyed by a storm, and all survive on an island. What are the needs and possible results? Set up a government on the island and put together a plan for obtaining food, clothing etc. Decide who will be in charge of the various jobs on the island. Hold elections. Identify how products will be created and exchanged by the inhabitants.

* Take a field trip to see the movie "Titanic" and discuss the reasons it has been a market success.

* Envision an early American dry goods store in the West. In groups have students decide on marketing, goods available, location etc.

* Make a mini-store in class and students make products to sell.

* Write resumes for yourself as an adult. Offer job applications for students to apply for a job as a cashier, a marketer, an accountant, a manufacturer, a warehouse manager, a business consultant, a teacher, etc


Science and Entrepreneurship

* In food science experiment with product development: Study the effect of heat/temperature on yeast products. Dissolve yeast for bread in three different temperatures. Make the bread and describe the results.

* Choose an important nutritional concept. Develop an advertising plan to sell the idea. Develop a product line of nutritional snacks and decide how to sell them. Establish and name a company that will market the nutritional snacks. Organize the company. Identify positions and careers possible.

* Students locate food ads in a magazine, mount them on index cards, and evaluate their nutritional content. Make a bulletin board display. Discuss the role of advertising in promoting nutrition.

* Do bacterial tests around school. Collect data and generate a report. Sell anti-bacterial soap or wipes for students to use before lunch, etc.

* Set up a weather station in which students take weather readings and market results in some form.

* Study crystal formation by making rock candy. Discuss how a new product might be created from crystal formations.

* Experiment with emulsions. Make salad dressing with and without emulsifier. Describe results, taste, etc. Conduct research on what emulsifiers are and how they are used in products.

* Link with NASA to identify a science activity being conducted on Mears space station or other space explorations. What will research conducted yield in terms of a business. What businesses might emerge?

* Collect flowers and plants to study.
Press them and make book marks to be sold at a school book fair.

* Plan a student-run service of water sampling.

* Students collect, sort, weigh materials collected from school trash for one day (paper, glass, metal etc.). Record results. Collect for a week. Describe amounts that would be accumulated over time, problems of disposal, types of businesses disposing of materials, and costs associated with trash. Describe problems of accumulation.

* Start a recycling project. Collect cans and sell to a local recycle center. Analyze costs and income per pound. Structure a business format for the recycle project. Identify roles of individual class members.

* Invite business people to speak to students on science-related businesses.

Arts/Performing Arts and Entrepreneurship

* Identify entrepreneurial skills for individuals who choose the arts, such as musicians, writers, artists etc.

* Create a business selling/marketing "Practice Partners" for students proficient in some musical instrument who will serve as practice partners, giving guidance and assistance for students who are preparing for music lessons.

* Students create a "jingle" for an art show for use in a TV or radio advertisement.

* Create attractive flyers, posters or web pages for a musical event in your community.

* Use the computer art class to develop an ad that is attractively arranged. Develop a logo that would be interesting, attractive etc.

* Develop a logo for the school baseball team to promote this season's games.

* Develop Web Page designs for fellow students who are trying to set up their own page, incorporate logo, music sound wave, etc.

* Create school postcards - students photograph various school scenes/activities, and market the postcards within school and community.

* Start a "Birthday Party" entertainers unit - Students will develop entertainment activities to sell to busy mothers for children's birthday parties. Market the idea on the Internet by designing an interesting web page on birthday party ideas.

* Create a series of posters representing each department elective, to be used in recruitment of students for next year. Think of how businesses recruit, and apply the techniques.

* Develop a package design and marketing materials for a product to sell. Develop a TV commercial for your product. Create a TV or radio ad for your business using role playing, audio and videotaping.

* Music classes work with history and art classes to promote a product.

Math and Entrepreneurship

* Analyze pros and cons of a business location, charting/graphing traffic flow and interpreting it.

* Develop a survey of the market to sell a product.

* Use spread sheets (Excel) to project operating costs of a business

* Examine business space requirements according to equipment and inventory needs, and draw up a plan.

* Calculate cost per square foot of a given business plan.

* Reconcile a checking account balance for a business.

* Analyze recurrent expenditures and forecast annual costs

* Discuss how competition may affect the price of goods.

* Calculate costs of taking business into global markets.

* Project future profits given expansion data.

* Track stock market for 6 months. Project profits over next 2 months. (Percents plus dollar amounts)

Language Arts and Entrepreneurship

* Plan selling and marketing of a given book. Discuss what should be included in the book to make it marketable. Analyze the effects of supply, demand, profit, and competition on small business. Visit local book stores to observe and analyze their marketing techniques. Develop a plan to sell the book. Write ads to promote the book.

* Write a business plan

* Have students survey the student body on topics of interest for a book club (survey on hobbies/interests). Then open the book club, selling books of the most interest. Develop a Powerpoint presentation to sell your business to potential stock holders.

* Have each student write a career plan with values and goals. How does that plan lead to being an entrepreneur?

* Discuss how to sell an ad for the school newspaper.

* Have students research a business or industry and write informational news release for the school newspaper. Use the research for a term paper.

* Create and design a logo for a business. Research the potential clients. Present findings, both orally and in writing.

* Read the Dave Thomas books, (Dave's Way, or Well Done). Discuss the experiences and ideas presented. Also discuss people they know who are successful entrepreneurs.

* Interview some entrepreneurs in the community and share results of research in an essay, such as "Common Traits of Entrepreneurs".

* Plan a small business assistance group in the school. Develop details of services and programs to be provided.

* Have students study current ads and jingles to determine why they are successful. Discuss the ads that catch you attention and decide why they do.

* Write to the local newspaper asking that the person responsible for their ads come to the class and discuss how to write an ad.

* Have a mock radio program and write the commercials for it.

* Research the career opportunities in the media industries (newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, etc.)

* Select a local business and determine what language skills are needed by the owner. List qualities necessary to be an entrepreneur.

* Students prepare oral presentations on famous entrepreneurs and successful businesses.

* Explore biographical background of an entrepreneur that relates to your business goals, ideas.

* Interview and job shadow a local entrepreneur in your field of interest.

* Contact an employer who has set up his/her own business and interview the person. Report results to the class.

* Research, via the Internet, locations that would be good to set up a certain kind of business.

* Write an employee handbook.

* Have entrepreneurs talk to class about mistakes made because of poor preparation in school.

* Explore customer relations and problem solving as they relate to particular industries or businesses of student interest.

* Ask an entrepreneur to share successes and failures. Then have students and speaker explore ways of building on the success and avoiding or remedying the failures.

* Form groups that will help to write a curriculum for younger students to gain skills in creating a business. Older students will identify what is essential and serve as mentors to the younger students.

Note to Instructors: Please share the outcomes of similar brainstorming activities with us. We are always looking for ideas to share. Send to Cathy Ashmore, 1601 West Fifth Ave., # 199, Columbus, OH 43212

or by e-mail:

(This activity was published in EntrepreNews & Views and is free to copy for use in the classroom. EntrepreNews & Views is published by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, Columbus, OH.)