How To Think Outside the Box with Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans
Are your entrepreneurship lesson plans getting a little stale? Need some ideas to freshen them up? Let's face it, a lot of successful entrepreneurs will tell you they owe part of their success to "thinking outside the box." And so, I think it behooves those that teach it to do a little outside the box thinking in regards to entrepreneurship lesson plans.
But hey, I know entrepreneurship certainly isn't the only thing you have on your plate (more like a platter, right?). So, I've gathered a few ideas for you here.
Middle School and High School Entrepreneurship Curriculum: Shark Tank
Entrepreneurship is, of course, the very essence of Shark Tank. Take it from these teachers on Twitter..."Shark Tank is the Swiss army knife of #BusEdu"!
Who wouldn't both enjoy AND learn from Shark Tank Fridays? I know I learn something every time I watch it. Watch the presentations, then pause the show and see if students can predict what will happen. Pause it again before a deal is accepted to talk about what the candidate should choose. And finally talk about whether or not a good decision was made.
Resources for Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans
During an "Entrepreneurship in #busedu" chat in February 2015, attendees were asked, "Q3: What text do you use for Entre? Do you use it heavily? What other non-digital resources do you use to teach Entre? #busedu." Here are some of the responses. For the full discussion, go here.
These teachers have some great ideas. One teacher has her students managing two vending machines. Ironically, that was my own first taste of entrepreneurship when I was 12. My parents ran a small motel and I managed the vending machine. I remember my parents waking me up in the middle of the night because I'd let the machine go empty and a guest was looking for a soda. Lesson learned.
Another teacher shared his accumulated resources for Entrepreneurship classes on twitter:
Search for Entrepreneurship Activities
Khan Academy has some great interviews with some of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. One way to use this resource could be to flip your classroom. Tell your students what to go over at home and then when they are in class, use what they learned to complete an activity relating to those skills.
If you have never used Teachers Pay Teachers, this is a great time to look into it. It is a great resource if you have a little bit of time to do some digging. There are a number of entrepreneurship lesson plans and ideas on the site. There's even a Shark Tank lesson!
Well-Rounded Business Education Lesson Plans for High School and Middle School
Want more than some entrepreneurship lesson plans here and there? How about an organized selection of engaging, multimedia curriculum with corresponding PowerPoint presentations, study guides, lesson plans, teacher guides, and automatically graded quizzes and tests? Business&ITCenter21 has all that, plus a library full of content surrounding other business topics like marketing, management, and accounting. The entrepreneurship module starts with an introduction to and the characteristics of an entrepreneur. The second unit helps students understand how to identify business opportunities by understanding markets and customers. The third unit covers operational aspects of running a small business such as profit, loss and planning.
Unit 1: Being an Entrepreneur
This unit introduces students to the effort required to be an entrepreneur. They first investigate the characteristics of an entrepreneur, and the difference between a boss and an employee. The students are shown that entrepreneurship is a choice for women and minorities. They then explore the "path" to entrepreneurship including the pros and cons, and various ways of becoming a business owner. Finally, students explore how to recognize opportunities for starting a business. More specifically, here's what they'll learn:
Lesson 1- What is an Entrepreneur?
- Define entrepreneur
- Learn what characteristics make an entrepreneur successful
- Recognize entrepreneurship as a choice for women & minorities
- Compare the differences between a boss and an employee
Lesson 2- The Path to Entrepreneurship
- Investigate various ways to becoming an entrepreneur
- Identify the costs and benefits of becoming an entrepreneur
- Compare and contrast the risks and benefits of starting a business, buying a business, or purchasing a franchise
Lesson 3- Recognizing Opportunities
- Recognize opportunities resulting from other people’s wants and perceived needs
- Investigate the importance of determining the wants and needs of customers
- Learn about problems facing consumers and business, and how to find solutions
- Investigate home-based and internet-based businesses
Unit 2: Evaluating the Market
This unit helps students understand why it is important for entrepreneurs to know their markets. This includes defining market segments and knowing what your customers want. The need to gather customer feedback and how to respond to negative feedback is covered. Other topics covered are why businesses should be involved in their community and properly picking a facility to meet business needs. Here's what they'll learn:
Lesson 1- Markets
- Understand why it’s important for entrepreneurs to know what their customers want
- Define a market segment
- Explore target market and market share
- Learn how entrepreneurs can impact the economy and the community
- Recognize the need to pick a facility that meets the need of the business
Lesson 2- Customers
- Learn the importance of collecting customer feedback and why it is important
- Discuss ways to properly handle negative customer feedback
- Define who competition is for a business
- Understand the benefits of networking with other businesses
Unit 3: Running a Business
This module helps students understand the struggles many entrepreneurs have in maintaining a profitable business. The first unit covers profit and loss topics including opportunity cost, marginal benefit, marginal cost, total revenues and total expenses. The second unit explains the importance of short-term and long-term planning in reaching profitability. They will learn about:
Lesson 1- Profit and Loss
- Define opportunity costs
- Explain marginal costs and marginal benefit
- Understand total revenue and total expenses
- Compute total revenue and total expenses
- Explain how total revenue and expenses relate to profit and loss
Lesson 2- Planning
- Understand the importance of planning
- Examine the importance of short-term and long-term planning on profitability
- Establish a profit goal for a planned business
- Decide whether to start a new business or stay in a specific business based on opportunity cost
Have you found something new here to add to your entrepreneurship lesson plans? I'm sure your lesson plans are stellar...but in talking about entrepreneurship, it seems to beg for outside the box thinking! The usual MO might just not cut it with this dynamic subject. So, if you haven't lately, take a moment to think of a way to try something you've never tried before in your classroom.
Want to try the entrepreneurship lessons and activities within Business&ITCenter21? Sign up for a free trial and review it with your students today:
About Sarah Layton
Sarah has been with AES since 1998, first serving as a curriculum developer, and now as a customer support analyst and content creator. She is committed to helping instructors gain experience and confidence using our solutions and to providing excellent customer care. Sarah has a bachelor’s of arts degree in English and technical writing from the University of Delaware. In her previous professional life, she was a writer, editor, and publisher in both the hospitality and advertising industries. She lives in Lititz, Pa., with her husband, two children, and the best old dog ever, enjoying every moment of the chaos they all create.