Nurturing the Entrepreneurial Spirit with STEAM

Nurturing the Entrepreneurial Spirit with STEAM

Learners are entering a new economic era. Entrepreneurship continues to be on the rise as small businesses now make up nearly half of the US workforce (Stahl, 2022). There is no doubt that people are looking to take charge of their futures.

This begs the question: Are we preparing students to be entrepreneurs?

It’s not just about preparing them to start their own small businesses. Nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset is about creating opportunities, adapting to changing circumstances and making a meaningful impact on society. It gives learners practical skills to use throughout their personal and professional lives.

Entrepreneurial Skills:

  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Risk-taking
  • Resilience

PCS Edventures’ many STEM programs engage learners in activities that foster the entrepreneurial spirit. Through hands-on lessons, they gain the skills needed to succeed in any career they choose.

Think outside the box (and backward!) with one of history’s most creative minds. Join Leonardo Da Vinci in his quest to discover the wonders of the world through your skills, talents and curiosities. Each activity in Da Vinci Camp inspires learners in Grades 4-6 to ask questions, learn from mistakes and dream big.

Find your voice by producing, editing and starring in a podcast of your own making! Designed for Grades 6-12, Discover Podcasting introduces learners to one of today’s most exciting career paths and helps them develop the entrepreneurial skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.

Keep reading to see how these STEM programs develop each entrepreneurial skill in a way that works for all learners.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving:

Every entrepreneur must have the ability to solve problems creatively and think critically. Creative problem-solving enables us to find innovative solutions, while critical thinking helps us analyze different situations and make informed decisions. These skills help entrepreneurs identify opportunities, overcome challenges and achieve success in their ventures.

STEM and STEAM activities help learners develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills by challenging them to think outside the box and make informed decisions.

Da Vinci Camp encourages learners to solve problems in a way most may not expect.

Take mirror writing, for example. In each of Da Vinci’s many journals, he wrote in reverse from right to left. Why? As learners explore historians’ hypotheses, they come to find that a likely explanation is simply that he was left-handed. Rather than smear ink from his quill with the side of his hand, Da Vinci found a unique solution that worked best for him. It’s this way of thinking that motivates learners to approach challenges differently moving forward.

Discover Podcasting uses many concrete examples from industry professionals to help learners find success in the podcasting world.

For instance, before designing their podcast cover art, learners analyze different shows’ titles, colors, images, fonts and more. This leads to a discussion of the importance of first impressions, an important concept for entrepreneurs to understand. What people see should showcase a clear message. Thinking critically about what is or is not effective enables learners to make informed decisions about their own creations.

Creativity and Innovation:

Entrepreneurs are excellent at developing new products, services and solutions. Their ability to identify gaps in the market and find solutions to meet those needs is what sets them apart and makes them successful. With their creative minds, entrepreneurs continuously come up with fresh and exciting ideas that challenge the status quo.

STEM and STEAM activities help students develop creativity and innovation skills by encouraging them to experiment and try new things.

Have you heard of the 3Cs?

They’re the questions learners ask themselves as they work toward developing an entrepreneurial mindset.

  1. Curiosity: What are you curious about?
  2. Creativity: How can you be creative in finding answers?
  3. Connections: What connections can you make with other subjects? Are there other people you can collaborate with?

In Da Vinci Camp, learners are encouraged to consider how Da Vinci went about his creative process while applying this approach to their own wonderings. In doing so, they can discover several solutions to the same problem, encouraging them to consider questions from various angles and perspectives.

Creating an original podcast in Discover Podcasting requires innovation and creativity throughout the production process. First, podcasters must identify a unique topic that resonates with audiences.

During the editing stage, learners experiment with new tools and techniques. It’s up to them to choose the right voices, music, sounds and more to tell their story. Learners, like entrepreneurs, have a chance to pioneer new strategies for engaging audiences within this rising medium.

Communication and Collaboration:

What happens when entrepreneurs find a creative solution to a problem? The next step is to share their ideas with others. An entrepreneurial mindset requires taking ownership of an idea while acknowledging the power of working with others. After presenting their idea, entrepreneurs can collaborate with teams that will work hard to make their vision a reality.

STEM and STEAM activities help learners develop communication and collaboration skills by providing opportunities to work on team projects and present their findings to others.

Communication goes beyond talking.

Scientists say that only about 7% of what we understand about a person comes from their words, while a whopping 93% is communicated without speaking.

In Da Vinci Camp, learners explore the Theory of Universal Emotions by observing how faces move to express different emotions. Understanding body language cues is crucial to entrepreneurs' success as they strive to understand what their team, investors and consumers each value.

In podcast production, a team collaborates to decide on show titles, episode concepts and other key elements. Everyone has the opportunity to share their ideas, big or small, in a judgment-free environment. Industry experts call this “pitching,” and it’s an important part of Discover Podcasting. Entrepreneurs who can confidently pitch their ideas to a group are more likely to be successful. The more practice they have, the better!

Risk-Taking and Resilience:

In a safe, supportive STEM learning environment, students can learn so much from their mistakes. Our lessons are built around the belief that Failure is Advantageous, which allows educators to feel confident encouraging learners to explore their ideas. Similarly, entrepreneurs must be willing to take calculated risks, persevere in the face of setbacks and adapt to changing circumstances.

STEM and STEAM activities can help students develop resilience by challenging them to take risks and learn from their mistakes.

Entrepreneurs are often risk-takers, but it takes an even more experienced person to know when to make those daring moves.

In Da Vinci Camp, learners help answer one of Da Vinci’s many questions: How do you measure the length of an alligator? Of course, measuring an alligator would be risky. Instead, they consider how researchers use observation skills to find such answers. Recognizing the right moments to embrace risks is a defining trait of a successful entrepreneur.

Discover Podcasting makes recording easy, but mistakes are bound to happen. For example, if a host misspeaks, they are urged not to dwell on it. Instead, they are encouraged to keep going or record a new take. If they keep recording, they can rely on the editing team to change course and rethink how best to organize the content. If they choose to rerecord, they can learn from their mistakes and try again with confidence. What’s more, this process helps learners understand the importance of meeting deadlines, especially when audiences eagerly anticipate their next episode.

Tricks of the Trade - Fostering an Entrepreneurial Mindset:

Are your learners prepared to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs? Do they have the creativity, resilience, critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to succeed in the competitive business world? With the right resources, your learners can develop the entrepreneurial mindset necessary to achieve their goals.

It’s time to make the big move and launch your next STEM experience! Check out these tips to help you get started:

How do you think we can best nurture an entrepreneurial mindset among STEM learners?

Share your ideas in the comments and stay connected with us on social media for more valuable resources.


Author: Jessica Ventre

An experienced elementary educator and science instructional coach, Jessica’s passion for STEM instruction and student-led learning is always at the forefront of her lessons and professional development workshops.

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References

Stahl, A. (2022, July 8). Entrepreneurship Is Booming—Here’s why that’s great news. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2022/07/08/entrepreneurship-is-booming-and-heres-why-thats-great-news/?sh=df30c2a76844