By Tim Lakey, St. Louis Entrepreneurship Teacher
The weather has been tough here in St. Louis this winter, just as it has been across the country, so it has been difficult to get a full week in so far this semester. I decided that since this is my first semester teaching Entrepreneurship with the NFTE curriculum that I would try to follow the textbooks and workbooks that have been so generously provided to us by MasterCard.
We started the semester by talking about characteristics that would be important to people who would want to start and operate their own businesses. Many of the students were excited to find out that they possess many of the necessary characteristics. Most of the students seemed to possess enough of the characteristics to keep them excited about becoming an entrepreneur. Part of the materials that I received from NFTE includes PowerPoint chapter notes. I have found these to be very helpful in hitting the key terms and ideas from the chapters.
So far we have done two of the projects taught to us in NFTE U. They both turned out to be very good learning experiences for myself and the students. The first project was one to help students use their creativity and to show that they can come up with business ideas by using random items to make a good which they could sell. I bought a bunch of random things at the dollar store down the street from my house. I put different items in bags to give to groups of 3-4 students. The students then came up with an idea that they could sell. I used this project in both my 1st and 3rd hours.
When the students first opened their bags, they all just looked at their items and scratched their heads. There were comments about how “nothing could be made from this stuff”, or “what are we supposed to do?” After a few minutes someone would pick up an item and try to attach it to something else. Another student would get an idea of where they could go from there. Pretty soon they had a product and were starting to work on their pitch to sell the product, coming up with where they would sell it, who would be their target audience, etc.
We did the second project to introduce the chapter on economics. We again started with a brown sack with items in it. This time I put 3 items in each bag, and each student received his or her own bag. The project is to show why we have an economic system, and why trade benefits everyone. When the students received their bags they were asked how satisfied they felt in receiving a bag of goods. They couldn’t open the bags yet, so they didn’t know what they had, so they weren’t very satisfied. I then let them look at what they had. Pretty much the only students who were very satisfied at that point were the ones that have food in their bags.
Their satisfaction really increased when they were able to trade their items with other students. Some students made bad trades and then were upset about that, but most were fairly satisfied by the end of the project. We then started on the chapter on economics.