Entrepreneurs and Startups Curriculum Overview


Course Flow


This course guides student passion and entrepreneurial spirit by helping them to understand entrepreneurs, their ideas and their skill sets. Students will develop their own venture employing elements of the lean startup model and culminating in their presentations at a Quick Pitch Event

Type: Overview Duration: 0 minutes Grade Levels: Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10

There are three main parts of the course, which are separated by (or include) an event or benchmark:
1. Introducing the Entrepreneur – Frameworks for understanding entrepreneurship
2. Challenge 1 – Launch and introduction to the lean startup model in action
3. Challenge 2 – Venture plan, entrepreneurial “nuts and bolts,” and lessons learned

Recurrent elements include:
  • Content themes of entrepreneurs as change agents, finding the entrepreneur in me, lean startup, and self assessment 
  • Build upon previous course themes of creativity & innovation, design, change–making & storytelling, and character & collaboration as described in the introduction
  • Pedagogical methods of inquiry based learning (teacher as facilitator of student driven classroom) and project based learning–the project isn’t the caboose at the end of the course; rather it is the engine that moves the course and engages with content. 
  • Classroom culture of collaboration, constructive critique, self assessment & reflection, and honoring student voice & student choice 
  • Authenticity and adult world connections (interviews & exhibition)

The majority of the class sessions follow a similar format:
  • Epic Question 
  • Class discussion or hands–on activities around the Epic Question and new course content 
  • Group work on a project as it relates to the new course content (with teacher’s model to guide and set expectations) 
  • Exit Question in the Entrepreneur’s Journal 
  • Off-Campus Challenge (extension of unfinished classwork or information gathering for next class session)
Within this format, a number of classroom structures will be utilized in order to develop a classroom culture that honors student voice and choice, as well as supports collaboration, constructive critique and reflection.

Each EdgeMakers course is built around an introductory and a major challenge, which provide an opportunity for students to work in teams and to experience the power of project–based learning.

Challenge 1:
Challenge 1 pushes students to find the entrepreneur within themselves and practice the entrepreneurial thought process by working on an assigned venture topic in teams. During Challenge 1, students reach out to peers, adults and entrepreneurs in order to understand their proposed venture better and shape it into something that has the best chance of success. Challenge 1 culminates with an informal Gallery Walk in which teams present their Venture Proposals to their peers during Lesson 11 and receive feedback to improve their ideas.

Challenge 2:
Just as Challenge 1 ends, Challenge 2 begins by providing students with an opportunity to assemble into teams based on an idea that motivates and excites them. They generate, develop and refine this venture idea and associated Venture Plan. In so doing, they dive more deeply into the customer strategy, economics and markets related to their venture. The ventures take tangible form as the students’ written plans become plausible products, with prototypes, branding and marketing plans. The final step of Challenge 2 is the presentation of the ventures at the Quick Pitch Event, where audience members play the role of investors and evaluate the potential of the ventures presented.

Quick Pitch Event
The culminating event of the course can be held as a competitive or noncompetitive event. It can also be hosted during the final class or after hours in a special time and location. In either version, it is suggested that families, community members and special guests are invited to help lend professionalism and importance to this showcase and assessment of student progress. Students present their venture plans and prototypes in a two–minute quick pitch. They also exhibit and display their venture plan, marketing materials and prototype. The Quick Pitch Event places the audience in the role of investor. Each investor is given a scorecard to rate the students’ ventures. In the competitive event, “investors” divide their “venture capital budget,” which consists of symbolic currency or credits, among worthy groups. While the budget is not real, the results will validate student work and could be used as a tool to award a real monetary prize or investment provided by the school or other benefactor, if available.