At the New Mexico Computer Science for All wrap-up meeting held on January 3rd, 2015, Las Cruces High School CS teacher Elisa Cundiff shared an Entrepreneur Unit that she developed along with her co-teacher, Lauren Curry, and implemented last semester. (Elisa also recently presented this “nifty assignment” at the NSF-sponsored 100 CS teachers workshop in Washington, DC during CSEdWeek.)
The Entrepreneur Unit was developed for CS classes “because we require a new generation of problem solvers.” The unit, designed to run for a week but easily extendable, starts with research on current startups with the objective of identifying the problem that each startup is attempting to solve. Students are then tasked with recording what they are doing at 15 minutes throughout a day and making note of inefficiencies or frustrations they encountered. These problems then become a bank of issues any one of which their startups could attempt to solve.
Next, students brainstorm and select a startup idea and develop an elevator pitch with the knowledge that they would need to pitch it to a real industry executive the following day! Students finish the unit by researching their industry, their competition, and identifying their competitive advantage; creating a revenue model and discussing potential revenue sources.
For more information on this exciting unit for inclusion in CS classes, go to http://bit.ly/1zD9P7p where Elisa and Lauren have graciously shared all materials associated with this unit. Thanks to Elisa and Lauren for providing inspirations to CS teachers and being innovators themselves!
Irene Lee, CSTA CT Task Force Chair