High school students with an entrepreneurial spirit have great opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge in the fascinating world of entrepreneurship. In this ultimate guide, we have handpicked 8 of the most fun and inspiring entrepreneurship class activities that will empower and motivate budding entrepreneurs not only to dream big but also to turn their ideas into reality.Read until the end for 5 more bonus activities!
1. Play our game, Products (A little biased)
Prepare to kindle your students' creativity and ignite their entrepreneurial enthusiasm with this inventing and pitching card game. Products provides a hands-on and captivating approach to imparting fundamental entrepreneurship concepts.
Benefits: This immersive experience serves as an excellent resource for instructing a range of skills, including public speaking and creative thinking, while nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset. Skypig not only offers the original game edition but also a teacher’s edition, accompanied by a comprehensive 6-page lesson plan and up to 10 class activites to mix and match. This makes it an indispensable tool for educators aiming to instill these skills in their students in a laid-back and enjoyable manner.
2. Do the "If I Knew…:" activity
Developed by Aileen Huang-Saad from the University of Michigan, the "If I Knew..." exercise encourages students to give feedback on their entrepreneurship class experiences. At the end of each term, students complete a PowerPoint template, answering questions about their expectations, what they gained from the class, and what they would change if they had known certain things beforehand. This engaging and collaborative activity allows teachers to enhance their curriculum, while students develop critical thinking skills through self-reflection.
Benefits: This exercise provides valuable insights into student expectations and experiences, enabling iterative improvements to the course curriculum. It encourages students to reflect on their learning journey and provides an opportunity for open discussion and collaboration.
3. Complete the 'Envelope Exercise'
The Envelope exercise, introduced by Pritpal Singh from Villanova University, challenges students to brainstorm and plan an activity to grow a small, initial investment (e.g., $2). This exciting game sparks creativity, resourcefulness, and determination, teaching students that generating income and creating value is possible even when resources are limited.
Benefits: This exercise helps students understand the value of resourcefulness and creativity in entrepreneurship. It demonstrates that even with limited resources, it is possible to generate income and create value. This activity is particularly impactful for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, as it instills confidence in their ability to make money.
4. Get out of the building
Rodney Boehm from Texas A&M University advocates for the Get Out of the Building exercise, emphasizing the importance of customer interaction in the entrepreneurial process. Students break free from their comfort zones and engage in conversations with potential customers, gaining insights into their needs and preferences. This interactive activity fosters empathy, deepens market understanding, and fine-tunes entrepreneurial ideas.
Benefits: This exercise helps students develop empathy and a deeper understanding of their target market. It pushes them to challenge their assumptions and refine their ideas based on real-world feedback. By interacting with potential customers, students gain a firsthand perspective on the market and learn to shape their products or services to better meet customer needs.
5. Embrace your imagination like Willy Wonka
Laquita Blockson from Agnes Scott College introduces the Pure Imagination exercise, which aims to inspire students to think beyond conventional boundaries. After watching the "Pure Imagination" scene from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," students brainstorm alternative uses for common household items (e.g., clothespins, pill bottles). This captivating activity encourages students to think outside the box, embrace creativity, and seek new opportunities in entrepreneurship.
Benefits: This exercise helps students recognize the connection between creativity and entrepreneurial opportunity. It encourages them to think outside the box and find innovative solutions to everyday problems. By linking the exercise to a popular film and using common items, students from diverse academic backgrounds can easily grasp the importance of creativity in entrepreneurship.
6. Define complex problems
Ruth Ochia from Temple University presents the Defining Problems exercise, focusing on refining students' problem-solving skills. Students analyze pictures containing potential issues and are prompted to think about the questions they would ask or the additional information they would need to define the problems more effectively. This systematic activity develops a critical mindset and prepares students to tackle complex challenges.
Benefits: This exercise trains students to approach problem-solving from a systematic perspective. It encourages them to dig deeper and define the underlying issues before jumping to solutions. By emphasizing the importance of problem definition, students develop a critical mindset and are better equipped to tackle complex challenges.
7. Have a Shark Tank Friday
Bring popular TV show Shark Tank into your classroom with Shark Tank Fridays. Watch episodes or clips of the show with your students, pausing for open-ended discussions and real-life examples. Students will learn critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, while also having a lot of fun.
Benefits: Shark Tank Fridays create an engaging and interactive environment for students to learn about entrepreneurship. It allows them to apply critical thinking skills to real-world scenarios and understand the decision-making process in a business context.
8. Do hands-on learning
Encourage students to immerse themselves in entrepreneurial experiences outside of the classroom environment, like starting a business, joining entrepreneurship clubs, attending conferences, or pursuing internships. These extracurricular activities provide invaluable networking opportunities and practical experience in the world of entrepreneurship.
Benefits: Engaging in entrepreneurial extracurriculars offers a hands-on approach to learning. Students can apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world context, fostering practical experience and a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship. Additionally, these activities provide networking opportunities, allowing students to build connections with peers, mentors, and professionals in the field.
How to wrap up activities with reflections
While engaging activities are essential, it's equally important to include reflection activities in your entrepreneurship lessons. Reflection allows students to think critically about what they've learned and how it has shaped their perspective on entrepreneurship. Consider incorporating the following reflection prompts at the end of your unit or course:
- How do you think being an entrepreneur affects a person's life?
Have these lessons made you think differently about entrepreneurs? If so, how?
Before this class, had you thought about becoming an entrepreneur? Has that changed?
These prompts can be completed in class or assigned as homework. The goal is to encourage students to reflect on their learning and consider the impact entrepreneurship could have on their future endeavors.
Why engage in entrepreneurship activites?
There are many reasons to get students involved in activities surrounding entrepreneurships.
If you are interested in research behind invention education, here is a research paper on benefits and more from Professors from MIT, UI, and more: "Researching Invention Education." Here is the white paper of the research straight from Lemeson-MIT.
If you are just curious for some reasons, these are our top reasons to implement this type of education in your curriculum:
- Develop essential skills: Entrepreneurship activities provide a platform for honing critical skills such as problem-solving, communication, creativity, and teamwork. These skills are not only valuable for entrepreneurship but also for success in various aspects of life.
- Gain practical experience: Engaging in entrepreneurial activities allows students to apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world context. By working on projects and interacting with mentors, students can gain practical experience and develop a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship.
Foster creativity: Entrepreneurship encourages students to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. By participating in entrepreneurship class activities, students can unleash their creativity and learn to approach challenges from different perspectives.
- Build a network: Entrepreneurship activities often involve collaboration with peers, mentors, and professionals in the field. Building a network at a young age can provide invaluable support and opportunities throughout one's entrepreneurial journey.
- Explore career options: Engaging in entrepreneurship activities can help students explore and evaluate their interest in entrepreneurship as a potential career path. It allows them to gain insights into the entrepreneurial ecosystem and make more informed decisions about their future.
Go beyond class activities
1. Start a Company as an entrepreneurial extracurricular
One of the most immersive ways to experience entrepreneurship is by starting your own company as an extracurricular activity. This hands-on approach allows you to turn your interests into a business venture and learn valuable lessons along the way. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Crafts and Creations
If you have a knack for creating unique crafts or handmade products, consider starting an Etsy shop. Showcase your creations, learn about e-commerce, and gain insights into marketing and customer relations.
With the rise of no-code and low-code platforms, you can develop simple mobile apps without extensive coding knowledge. Identify a problem and create a solution through an app that addresses it. This will allow you to understand the process of app development, user experience, and monetization strategies.
If you have a product idea that resonates with your peers, consider developing it further and exploring different channels to sell it. Learn about product development, manufacturing, pricing, and distribution.
Remember, the key to success in starting a company is to identify a problem or a need and offer a solution that resonates with your target market. Embrace the entrepreneurial mindset and turn your passion into a thriving business!
2. Participate in business plan competitions
Business plan competitions provide an excellent platform for high school students to learn about entrepreneurship, develop business ideas, and pitch them to a panel of judges. These competitions foster a competitive spirit, encourage teamwork, and challenge students to think critically about various aspects of starting and running a business. Here's how you can make the most of business plan competitions:
Step 1: Research and Analysis
Identify a market need or problem and conduct thorough research to validate your business idea. Analyze the target market, competitors, and potential customers.
Step 2: Business Plan Development
Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your product or service, target market, marketing strategy, financial projections, and more. Seek guidance from mentors or teachers to refine your plan.
Step 3: Pitching Skills
Hone your presentation and public speaking skills to deliver a compelling pitch. Practice your pitch in front of peers or mentors to receive feedback and improve your delivery.
Participating in business plan competitions not only provides a platform to showcase your entrepreneurial skills but also opens doors to networking opportunities and potential funding for your business idea.
3. Join an entrepreneurship club
Entrepreneurship clubs offer a supportive and collaborative environment for high school students interested in entrepreneurship. These clubs provide a platform for students to learn from guest speakers, participate in brainstorming sessions, and share their business ideas with like-minded individuals. Here's what you can expect from joining an entrepreneurship club:
Entrepreneurship clubs often host educational sessions where industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, or teachers share their insights and experiences. These sessions provide valuable knowledge and inspiration.
Clubs may organize pitching sessions where students can present their business ideas to their peers. This allows students to receive feedback, refine their ideas, and gain confidence in presenting their entrepreneurial ventures.
Clubs may initiate collaborative projects where students work in teams to develop business ideas, conduct market research, and create business plans. This fosters teamwork and encourages students to learn from one another.
Joining an entrepreneurship club allows you to connect with peers who share your passion for entrepreneurship. It provides a supportive community that can help you navigate the challenges of starting and running a business.
4. Pursue internships or apprenticeships
Internships and apprenticeships with local businesses or startups can offer invaluable hands-on experience and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs. These programs allow you to immerse yourself in the entrepreneurial world and learn from professionals who have successfully navigated the challenges of starting a business. Here's how you can make the most of internships or apprenticeships:
Research local businesses, startups, or entrepreneurial organizations that offer internships or apprenticeships. Look for opportunities that align with your interests and allow you to work closely with entrepreneurs.
During your internship or apprenticeship, immerse yourself in various aspects of the business. Take on responsibilities, ask questions, and actively seek opportunities to learn from your mentors.
Use this opportunity to build a network of professionals in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Attend industry events, connect with entrepreneurs, and seek guidance from mentors who can help shape your entrepreneurial journey.
Internships and apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to gain practical experience, develop industry connections, and learn from successful entrepreneurs. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow in a real-world entrepreneurial setting.
5. Take online courses and programs
The digital age has transformed education, making it easier than ever to access high-quality online courses and programs. Online platforms offer a wide range of entrepreneurship courses tailored specifically for high school students. Here's how you can leverage online courses and programs:
Look for online courses that cover various aspects of entrepreneurship, such as ideation, business planning, marketing, and financial management. Choose courses that align with your interests and goals.
Online courses often provide the flexibility to learn at your own pace. Take advantage of this feature to delve deep into the topics that interest you the most.
Online courses often come with additional resources, such as readings, case studies, and interactive exercises. Utilize these resources to enhance your learning experience.
Online courses and programs can equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for entrepreneurial success. They provide a convenient and flexible way to learn, regardless of your location or schedule.
6. Attend entrepreneurial events and conferences
Entrepreneurial events and conferences offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, learn from successful entrepreneurs, and network with like-minded individuals. Attending these events can provide valuable insights, inspiration, and connections.
Here are a couple of top entrepreneurial events to consider:
- TechCrunch Disrupt: TechCrunch Disrupt is a renowned conference that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and technology industry leaders. The event focuses on the latest trends in the tech industry and offers valuable insights into innovation and entrepreneurship.
- South by Southwest (SXSW): SXSW is a major conference and festival that covers a wide range of topics, including entrepreneurship. Attendees can learn from industry experts, participate in workshops and panel discussions, and gain exposure to cutting-edge ideas.
By attending entrepreneurial events and conferences, you can expand your knowledge, gain inspiration, and make valuable connections in the entrepreneurial community.
7. Reflect on your own journey
As you engage in entrepreneurship class activities, it's crucial to take time to reflect on your journey and the lessons you've learned. Self-reflection allows you to gain deeper insights into your entrepreneurial mindset, evaluate your growth, and identify areas for improvement.
Here are some reflection prompts to guide your introspection:
Personal Growth Reflection
Reflect on how your involvement in entrepreneurship activities has shaped your personal growth. Consider the skills you've developed, the challenges you've overcome, and the lessons you've learned.
Entrepreneurial Mindset Reflection
Evaluate how your perspective on entrepreneurship has evolved. Has it influenced your career aspirations or future plans? Reflect on the impact of entrepreneurship on your mindset and outlook.
Identify the most valuable lessons you've learned from your entrepreneurship activities. Consider both successes and failures, and how they have contributed to your growth as an entrepreneur.
Reflection activities provide a vital opportunity to consolidate your learning and set goals for future development. Embrace the habit of reflection to maximize the benefits of your entrepreneurial journey.
Engaging in entrepreneurship class activities is an excellent way for high school students to develop essential skills, gain practical experience, and explore the exciting world of entrepreneurship. Whether you choose to start your own business, participate in competitions, join clubs, pursue internships, take online courses, attend events, or reflect on your journey, each activity offers unique opportunities for growth and learning. Embrace the entrepreneurial mindset, seek out new experiences, and empower yourself with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the business world. Remember, entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business—it's a mindset that can shape your future and empower you to make a positive impact on the world.
Bonus: Here are five more class activities and extracurriculars that can further enhance your entrepreneurial journey:
- Entrepreneurial Book Club: Form a book club with fellow students interested in entrepreneurship. Select books that inspire, educate, and promote the entrepreneurial mindset. Discuss the key takeaways and how they apply to real-world scenarios.
- Mentorship Programs: Seek out mentorship programs that connect high school students with experienced entrepreneurs. Mentors can provide guidance, support, and industry insights as you navigate your entrepreneurial journey.
- Social Entrepreneurship Projects: Engage in social entrepreneurship projects that address social or environmental challenges. Identify pressing issues in your community and develop innovative solutions that create positive change.
- Entrepreneurial Speaker Series: Organize a speaker series, inviting local entrepreneurs to share their experiences and insights. This can provide inspiration, networking opportunities, and valuable lessons from those who have walked the entrepreneurial path
- Entrepreneurship Workshops: Collaborate with teachers or local organizations to host entrepreneurship workshops. These interactive sessions can cover various topics, such as idea generation, business planning, marketing strategies, and financial management.
By incorporating these additional activities into your entrepreneurial journey, you can further sharpen your skills, expand your network, and make a lasting impact in the field of entrepreneurship.
Now, armed with these entrepreneurship class activities and extracurriculars, you have the tools to embark on an exciting journey of exploration and growth. Embrace the opportunities, challenge yourself, and let your entrepreneurial spirit thrive. The world needs young, innovative minds like yours to shape the future of entrepreneurship. Good luck!