Hackathon events for students in schools throughout Israel By: Galit Zamler
What is a Hackathon?
The idea of holding Hackathons for school children came up from the acquaintance of Galit Zamler with the Hackathon events among the entrepreneurial community in Israel.
Hackathon is a combination of the words Hacker and Marathon. It is an event where entrepreneurs gather together in for an X amount of hours or days without sleeping, share initiative ideas relating to the Hackathon theme, test them out, plan them and produce a prototype or a presentation and a pitch (a brief explanation for presenting the idea). In the end, the ideas are presented to an audience, sometimes to a member of judges who choose the winning projects according to different criteria.
In 2014, the Entrepreneurship for Kids program organized for the first time a Hackathon for kids. Following the success of the first Hackathon in Israel to young students from four different schools and from four different cities, other schools joined and asked to organize a Hackathon for their students.
Each Hackathon was designed in accordance with the school needs;
The events of the Hackathons have been adapted to the needs of the schools in terms of student age, study hours, the content, the pace and the various abilities. In this way, Galit organizes Hackathons for students at different ages, in which they enjoy an empowering experience of entrepreneurship, creativity and teamwork, that enables them to feel what it is like to be part of the start-up state.
On this page, you will read about the various Hackathons with the participation boys and girls, school children, organized by the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program and the Youth Entrepreneurship Program.
Organizing a Hackathon:
Hackathon organizers declare what the theme is about, and ask to hear thoughts and suggestions regarding this theme.
Announcing the theme ahead of time enables forethought on the initiatives, making it possible to show up ready with whatever tools one requires, to the event.
Sometimes the goal is to come out with real projects that fully developed during the two days, sometimes come out with only a piece paper/presentation/model and concrete ideas.
During the Hackathon groups are formed - You can join in with people you know, but it is always preferred to join with people you don't, therefore widening your network.
The event starts with the theme presentation and a lecture by someone with expertise in the subject. Depending on the length of the event itself, it is possible to schedule more lectures during its time.
Group members have a meet & greet, start discussing initiative ideas, convince their friends to focus on their idea and together they decide on one project.
The group meeting is held in the big hall so that groups can see and run into other group members (on the way to the restrooms or to drink water), impress upon their work, their progression, their ideas and consult with them.
Every half an hour the groups must report on their progression to the event supervisors.
At the end of the Hackathon representatives from each group present their initiative ideas before the rest of the participants, expert panel members express their thoughts on each idea and afterward there is a vote to rank the initiatives amongst the participants and winners are declared. Sometimes there is a prize, and sometimes there is none.
Hackathon in Kiryat Arba
The director of education in Kiryat Arba initiated a Hackathon for seventh and eighth-grade students in the junior high school of the Yeshiva (Yatka) and for students in the 7th and 9th grade in the Ulpana.
The Hackathon was divided into 3 sessions and culminated in a community evening in which two finalists from each school will present their projects to the Kiryat Arba community, well-known entrepreneurs and judges.
At the first meeting, the students learned for the first time what is a Hackathon, this after the early publication of signs at the school aroused their curiosity.
This meeting exposed the students to the subject of entrepreneurship in order to develop students' entrepreneurial and creative thinking, and to encourage them to participate in the next two meetings of the Hackathon, which has limited enrollment.
The exposure meeting, the teasers, the recruitment of the teaching staff and the competitive atmosphere made more than 60 students register to the Hackathon.
About 30 students from the Ulpana gathered in the hall around tables and raised innovative ideas for projects on social entrepreneurship and cleaning products.
Each group was accompanied by a mentor who helped them to formulate ideas.
The students heard from Galit Zamler a short lecture on techniques for creative thinking in entrepreneurship and then raised many ideas for projects which they had ranked, from which only two were selected for voting.
At the end of the day, six ideas were chosen with which the girls progressed towards the semi final competition at the school.
A similar event was held at the Yeshiva high school, with more than 30 students eager to bring up and develop innovative ideas in the fields of science, technology and cleaning products, knowing that eventually they would compete in the finale against the Ulpana girls.
For the third encounter, the students came with the equipment and tools they needed to build a model for their ideas.
After building the models, they prepared pitches and presentations to present the projects
After a few hours, the school children gathered and the entrepreneurs presented them their inventions. Each school held an internal competition between the various groups.
The computerized voting allowed each student to choose only two projects, and so in each school two finalists were selected.
The following projects were presented at the Ulpana:
1) Clean Slot (in Hebrew) - A toilet cleaner by pressing a button
2) Easy Busy - An adjustable eraser for the school board so that it will always remain in place and will not be lost.
3) Owl Test - An owl test embedded in a vehicle to protect against drivers who drink too much alcohol.
4) Kifafa - A glove with clean dish sponge
5) Light night - A bag that glows in the dark
6) Cart fix - Three-wheeled supermarket cart, easier to drive.
The following projects were presented at Yatka
1) Charging cart - A baby carriage that charges the phone
2) Cool Bag - Backpack with cooling system
3) Electric cart - Electric supermarket cart that drives itself to make it easier for buyers
4) Removable garbage bags without the need to be replaced by
5) Pencil Pen-instead of lead has a writing liquid like ink but which can be deleted by a regular eraser.
6) Mototon - A broom with which you can clean dust over the cabinets.
All the participating groups presented their projects in the evening in the Heichal HaTarbut in front of a wide audience. The four winning teams went up to the stage and presented their inventions to an experienced panel of judges, of which three groups won prizes.
From idea to product in 3 sessions
The students of the two seventh grades at the ORT Holon campus participate in three days of Hackathon during which they learn to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, think about creative ideas for projects, in the style of the elevator pitch.
At the stage of the exposure to the entrepreneurial world, that inspired them to think like entrepreneurs, the students asked many questions, both topicality and smart. All of them received answers that encouraged them to continue as critical thinkers of what was going on around them.
Pictures from the first session, where the students were divided into groups, and thought about ideas for projects based on products presented to them, and then presented them in class:
In the second part of the Hackathon, the students chose a limited number of ideas from those raised in the first session.
Then, each team focused on one project; they developed the original ideas, defined a need, a target audience, why they thought the idea should be promoted and what was needed for that.
The students learned what an elevator pitch is, what it answers and how to differentiate themselves so that others will listen to them.
Pictures from the second part of the Hackathon:
In the third and last part of the Hackathon, the students were creative, able to work in teams and ability to cope with challenges when they were asked to prepare models for their ideas for projects.
Each group prepared a model to illustrate its idea of the project using certain accessories provided to them, and although these are models of different ideas, they all succeeded in building a model that conveyed the message.
At the end of the construction of the models, the students presented the ideas in the classroom.
Hackathon on Natural Resources
The fifth graders who learn about the natural resources participated in a Hackathon of three meetings under the direction of Galit Zamler and Nimrod Segev, during which they were exposed to the world of entrepreneurship, thought of ideas for projects that use natural resources and prepared modules for their ideas.
During the first encounter, students were exposed to the entrepreneurial world in the context of natural resources.
They saw how innovative projects that exploit natural resources can improve the environment in which we live.
They then began thinking about the professions that will become redundant in the wake of those ventures, and which new professions may be needed because of them.
After the exposure stage, which excited each and every one of the students, they were given a task to work in groups.
Each group received a panel that helped them to think about creative entrepreneurial ideas, which make use of the sun and water as natural resources.
Each group formed 2-4 ideas for projects and at the end of the meeting we hung up all the ideas of the students in the class so that everyone could see them.
In the second session, the students voted on the ideas for the projects they would most like to implement.
They then analyzed the need for the project, the target audience, what it takes to realize the project and who their competitors are.
At the end of the second workshop, the students presented the idea to the class, while paying attention to the correct stance when in front of the audience, and their classmates helped them to understand what was needed to implement the projects.
The last meeting was named "Hackathon". Prior to this meeting the students brought equipment and accessories needed to build models for their ideas.
First, in order to focus the children just before building the model, they gave their product a name, defined the need it meets and the target audience, thought of a marketing slogan, asked research questions about the project and drew a diagram of the model they were planning to build together.
The children enjoyed the whole process, especially from the model building stage in teams, and at the end of the day presented the models they built to their classmates.
At the end of the meeting, school principal Dorit Nevo wrote: "Amazing process! Recommended for all ages."
And science teacher Michal Ronis wrote:
"It was amazing!
Nimrod and Galit Thank you very much!!!
A real example of meaningful learning"
Students in the Amirim program at Hashalom school in Mevaseret Zion participated in their third year of entrepreneurship lessons from the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program, led by vice principal Sigal Bar, who organized a real 24-hour Hackathon event at school, including sleeping bags.
Sigal summed up the entrepreneurial studies and the Hackathon event as follows:
Yesterday, a group of students from the Amirim program graduated from the 3-year entrepreneurial studies program, led by Sigal Bar, in which they learned about the entrepreneurial world, met entrepreneurs, developed business and social projects and even got published in the newspaper.
This year, each young entrepreneur developed his or her own project. The prototype projects were created by the students yesterday during the 24-hour Hackathon, which included: Creating prototypes, relaxing activities, lectures on entrepreneurial rhetoric by Ronit Meiri, and marketing styling by Sharona Zohar.
The students worked at the school and only completed the construction of prototypes at 3:00 a.m. The final products are amazing and creative.
The future generation of HaShalom students is ready, sharp, creative, loves to learn, curious, and most of all proactive and well-adapted to the 21st century.
Among the projects were: A magnetic board for Alzheimer's patients, a tri-headed bottle, a portable clothing rack for the pool, the beach and home, a device for easily finding jewelry, a computer mouse with an attached pad, a mechanical pencil set with replaceable erasers, disposable bags for squeezing lemons...
Thank you for guidance over the years!
A summary of the HaShalom school Hackathon:
First Hackathon for young students in Israel
The first Hackathon for elementary school students was born during the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The Hackathon was divided into three meetings; each one was held at a different school and was attended by others. Participating schools: Kaplan from Petah-Tikva, Yad Mordechai from Bat-Yam, HaShalom from Mevaseret Zion and Alumot from Tel-Aviv.
Here is a summarized presentation from all three meetings:
The Hackathon challenge response
The first to raise her glove was Tali Toledano, Kaplan school principal in Petah-Tikva that has engraved on its flag the education for entrepreneurship.
Tali immediately connected with the Hackathon idea and asked to participate in it along with other schools.
This is Tali's address to other schools to join the Hackathon:
Please forward the following to the principals.
Global Entrepreneurship Week at Kaplan school, Petah-Tikva 11.16.14- 21/22.11.14
The Global Entrepreneurship Week gives us a chance to teach Practice, initiative and distribution...
Of the many programs during this week... We will host entrepreneurs from different areas that will inspire our students.
Our gratitude goes out to Galit Zamler for her mediation, participation and organization towards this week.
This year we plan on holding Hackathons- in Hebrew, entrepreneurship conversations that will include students from different schools with the goal of creating cooperative initiatives.
During the year we will be happy to come to schools that took part in the week and continue working together to further our initiatives.
At the end of the year we will hold at our school a cooperative initiative fair.
All interested in more details are welcome to contact me.
Have a great year
A year of creativity and flight
Hackathon participating schools
Three schools answered the call
Three schools answered the call - two principals and a vice principal that, like real entrepreneurs, came out of their comfort zone and decided to join the Hackathon, even though they have never participated in one before.
We shall note that this is exactly how we educate towards entrepreneurship.
The schools are:
Yad Mordechai in Bat-Yam, run by Avivit Misterial, that teaches entrepreneurial forethought.
Alumot school in Tel-Aviv, run by Anat Blair, which joined in September 2014 the group of schools teaching entrepreneurship.
HaShalom school in Mevaseret Zion, lead by Sigal Bar, vice principal who teaches a group of honor students Entrepreneurship for Kids Program.
And thus, the Hackathon was born- Planned to be participated by 4 different schools from 4 different cities, encouraging the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program.
Hackathon part 1
The first meeting was designed to be a meet & greet between entrepreneur students, focusing on five subjects of which initiatives will rise and choosing 2-3 ideas chosen for each subject.
At Kaplan school, a team lead by the science teacher, Liat Ben-Moshe, was chosen and the team planned the first day of the Hackathon meticulously.
This very special event was named Hackathon - a one mind initiative a name that expresses entrepreneurial thought shared by students from different schools across the state.
The subjects defined for initiative idea hashing were: technological initiatives- patent invention, school initiatives, social initiatives, ecological/environmental initiatives and initiatives on the subject of the other is me. Every subject was given a color.
Students from the four different schools divided into groups ahead of time-based on subjects and showed up with ready-made ideas for initiatives.
Badges were made for the students with their name and colored according to the subject. Thus, the students could identify their groups before getting to know students from other schools.
A detailed schedule was planned for the first day of the Hackathon, which included:
- An acquaintance game between group members
- A Show & Tell round of initiatives previously worked on according to the subject
- Idea basket- group thinking about initiatives, according to the subject
- Merging every two groups dealing with the same subject
- Plaque is made of presentation ideas
- Receiving a poll about every idea to be filled out together until the next meeting
The first Israeli Hackathon for students grades 4-6 was set for 11.19.2014 during the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Excitement filled the morning air as buses with students from entrepreneur schools arrived.
Tables were set out by groups and categories in the school auditorium.
Upon arrival, the students wore the badges they had made it ahead of time.
After the assembly at the hall, a Meet&Greet was held for group members using an acquaintance game in the vein of Truth or Dare - Questions were thought of ahead of time and aimed at the initiative subject.
Afterward, the entrepreneur kids told of initiatives they had worked on in their schools and together worked on an Initiative basket - enriching every school knowledge.
When everyone felt acquainted, they began presenting their initiative ideas before the other group members.
At this stage, in order to provide a calm and quiet environment for discussion, the groups moved to other areas of the school accompanied by a chaperone teacher who also helped to guide the idea sharing process.
Every group came up with many initiative ideas. Later, to reduce the number of ideas, a vote was held for every idea using these questions:
- Who thinks the idea is good?
- Who thinks the idea is important?
- Who thinks the idea can be common for all schools?
The answer was given using colored cards of red, yellow and green.
This is how, in every group, up to 3 initiative ideas were chosen.
All ideas that were eventually picked and written on construction paper.
At the end of the day, the ideas were all assembled in the main hall and proud students took photos with their ideas and diplomas indicating their participation in the first Israeli student entrepreneur Hackathon.
The first part of the Hackathon came to a close with the creation of a joint market poll, uploaded by the students to Google Docs, and it was their task to show up with poll results to the second part of the Hackathon.
Summary of Hackathon part one
Administrative staff summary
Efrat Iger - Israeli Art and Culture teacher at Kaplan school:
I enjoyed it. The kid's point of views is unlike the adult's. I enjoyed seeing the kid's respect for one another, the encouragement, the cooperation, and group thought even though they knew not one another.
Liat Ben-Moshe - Science teacher at Kaplan school:
I feel as if after birth. During a month and a half I worked on all the small details and coordinations and to see the final product at the end was amazing. To my mind, the kids did not need us. They are enthusiastic and look forward to the next meeting.
Ifat Avigad - Science teacher at Kaplan school:
The Kids are coming together by themselves, which is an initiative with meaning. And this is far greater than the exchange of ideas and opinions. I understand this is how a Hackathon works, but I was missing a lot of time.
Dina Liberman - Kaplan School:
It was wonderful. Talking to the kids about what you learn outside of school, identifying a need, a problem, an opportunity for initiatives, encouraging out-of-school thinking. I developed the tool for choosing between alternatives which we used while voting on the top ideas.
I have no doubt we are dealing with quality, charming kids- I felt like we were all of the same school.
Sigal Bar- Entrepreneur coordinator and Vice Principal at HaShalom school:
It was delightful and very well organized. There were many ideas.
Orly Maimon - Entrepreneur coordinator at Yad-Mordechai school:
Thank you for the hosting and the idea. The meeting was great, the organization and fruitful thinking of the kids. You managed to bring them to far away places in a small amount of time.
Ronit Cohen - Entrepreneurship teacher at Yad-Mordechai school:
Amazing is the art of cooperation that brings the kids to a sort of small global village, and that's not just a saying but a reality, too. Cooperation between schools should be encouraged.
A phenomenal visit, it brought out the best in the kids from the creative thinking of amazing products.
Hava Matityahu - Kaplan school:
An empowering, straightening project. It's heartwarming to see how much willingness the kids have to create initiatives, to produce, to cooperate. The way they spoke to each other despite not knowing one another, the involvement, the caring, the goals they set for themselves for future mutual initiatives.
Tali Toledano - Kaplan school principal:
The climate created between the kids is something that can go forward.
When we heard the way they conversed and listened to one another, we saw the sky was the limit.
Ben- a Yad-Mordechai student:
I was in the group for The other is me and had fun, we brought up all kinds of ideas like how to open a dialog between healthy and physically challenged people, we cooperated and succeeded, and we have many ideas.
Helene- a Yad-Mordechai student:
We worked well together, came up with a lot of initiatives. It was fun.
Noa- HaShalom student:
My group's subject was the environment. We cooperated well. Everyone pitched an idea; we've got many. I feel the consolidation with the group.
Shira- Kaplan student:
My group dealt with initiatives within the school. It's a subject that I very much like because I like giving to the student body. Hashing ideas and working together was fun. I enjoyed improving ideas, and no one was shy about their thoughts.
Bat El- Alumot student:
Coming up with ideas was fun, and there was a lot of cooperation.
Noa- Kaplan student:
My group was the other is me and we worked well together, it was fun.
Omer- Kaplan student:
My group's subject was 'social initiatives.' It was fun to come up with activities. We worked together and had a good time.
We were open-minded and creative. We have any initiatives that will benefit both others and us.
Karin- Yad-Mordechai student:
It was a lot of fun, we connected. We worked together, even after splitting up into groups.
Hila- Alumot student:
It was fun to work with kids I didn't know. We came up with some great ideas and enjoyed ourselves.
Adam- Kaplan student:
It was good to meet kids from other schools and listen to their ideas.
Eva- Alumot student:
I had so much fun working with the team because there was fighting, there was cooperation, and it was pleasant.
Matan- Kaplan student:
My group dealt with Technological initiatives. We discussed patents to improve the school. For example: When kids get up to throw the paper away in the bin it disrupts the class, and so we thought there could be a small bin for every group of kids. Therefore, fewer kids have to get up. We came up with other patents to benefit the school.
Here is a summary presentation of the first Hackathon at the Kaplan school in Petah-Tikva:
Hackathon Part 2
The second part of the Hackathon was held on 12.29.2014, and the hosting school was Yad Mordechai in Bat-Yam, run by Principal Avivit Ministerial.
Orly Maimon, entrepreneurship coordinator and Ronit Cohen, Innovations coach at the school, planned this day to the core.
In the inner hall at school, where all participants gathered, the tables were set by subject initiative groups. Every student was given a Yad Mordechai folder and in it the schedule for the day, business cards to be filled out and other materials to serve them throughout the day.
After an acquaintance exercise, the students divided amongst themselves into work groups, accompanied by a chaperone from the school.
The teacher Karen guided one group, the other by teacher Ronit, the third by Sigal, fourth by Michal and the fifth by Orly.
The first group's task was to reduce the number of ideas chosen during the first part of the Hackathon into one idea per group.
By prioritizing the ideas, the students weighed the pros and cons of the preferred idea, for example:
- A more useful idea
- An idea that answered a real need
- A doable idea
The students discussed the ideas, trying to convince each group to follow theirs and then a vote was held using stickers- every student placed five stickers that were given to them atop the ideas and the idea earning the majority of the stickers is titled winner.
The chosen ideas:
- Games for people with disabilities
- Star of the week
- AFC Activities For the Community
- A non-biodegradable product fair
Action plans and market plans for entrepreneurs
Group members divided among them the tasks and worked on:
Bringing the initiative to life - using a model, drawing, presentation, article and so on.
Building a work plan to execute the initiative
Building a marketing plan for the initiative
End of the second day at the Hackathon
Pleased with the choices they've made and furthering the initiatives, the young entrepreneurs assembled in the hall.
The ideas were presented using whatever the students chose as illustrative tools:
Hackathon part 3 was planned to be hosted at HaShalom school in Mevaseret Zion by then the students will work to create at least one of the Ideas chosen at their schools and share the experience next time.
Before the students are dispersed, they received a gift from the hosting Yad Mordechai School, a pocket book specially designed for the entrepreneurial atmosphere.
Summary of Hackathon Part Two
At the end of the second day to the Hackathon, the entrepreneur kids shared what they have learned:
- I learned to cooperate and reach a consensus
- I learned how to pick an idea that is doable
- I learned to think twice before making a decision
- I learned that it was possible to create an initiative and have fun doing it
- I learned about the hardships, the advantages, and disadvantages. It'll be easier from now
- I learned what I can do with recycled materials
- I learned to think outside the box
- I learned to consider all factors in order to suggest an idea
- I learned how to showcase my initiative and describe it, the categories that are needed to illustrate the idea
- I learned that if I want it, I can make it!
- I learned to work together
- I learned to compromise and work in a group with people I did not know so well
- I learned to help the other and to weigh the options in picking an initiative
Others shared their experience:
- It was really fun, I enjoyed and learned how to develop an idea. It was special. I did not think we could do that.
- I really enjoyed it. I felt that there was cooperation and everyone thought about creative ideas.
- I really enjoyed it. It was fun to cooperate with children from other schools, because they do not meet every day.
Here is a summary presentation of the second Hackathon at the Yad-Mordechai school in Bat-Yam:
Hackathon Part 3
The third part of the Hackathon was hosted and organized by HaShalom school in Mevaseret Zion, led by Principal Zehava Isaschar and her VP Sigal Bar.
Students met each other at 9 AM at school and already felt acquainted.
The young entrepreneurs received stickers with their name and a colored sticker, determining which of the four mixed groups they belong to.
Everybody gathered in the hall, were waiting for them, where folders with the Hackathon schedule and information about the hosting school.
Zehava Isaschar and Sigal Bar spoke with the entrepreneur kids about the process they had gone through thus far and what they can expect on the day to come.
What defines the entrepreneur kids is the ability to dream and strive to initiate and create new processes.
The kids received their blessing for the fun day to come with plenty of beautiful ideas.
After the opening speeches have concluded the kids played an acquaintance game.
The kids split into groups according to the colors on their stickers. Every group's task was to stack the cubes, using the ropes they were given, without speaking to each other.
The purpose of this challenge is to encourage cooperation between group members in order to obtain a mutual goal.
After succeeding in the task, the kids once again gathered in the hall for the next activity.
Every student group was asked to create one business card that defines their members as entrepreneurs, as Hackathon participants or the initiative they've developed since Part Two.
At their disposal was construction paper, colors, glue and other different tools for designing a unique card.
Prior to the task, a discussion was held on the importance of a business card as a mean for marketing.
Here are the cards made by the entrepreneur students:
After the cards had been made, they were concentrated in a showcase with the initiative models made by the students in their own schools since Hackathon Part Two.
All in all, there were ten initiatives displayed. Click the links to read more about each project:
- Guess what initiative by Alumot School students
- Charity box initiative by Alumot school students
- Tri Bin initiative by Kaplan school students
- Personal Pencil Box initiative by Kaplan school students
- I wrote, I solved, I succeeded initiative by Kaplan school students
- Galgaldli initiative by Kaplan school students
- A bottle keeper initiative by Yad Mordechai school students
- Who am I? A name game for the blind initiative by Yad Mordechai school students
- Dumishush - In the style of Domino initiative by HaShalom school students
- Class Organizer initiative by HaShalom school students
At the end of the show, representatives of the entrepreneurs presented their initiatives.
Summary of Hackathon part three
Every student received a certificate of participation and five stones for the young entrepreneur that symbolizes: creativity, flexibility, optimism, communication and persistence.
Here is a summary presentation of Hackathon Part Three:
Free Class magazine who wrote an article on young entrepreneurs at HaShalom school, also wrote about the Hackathon - You are invited to read all about it.
Here we conclude the first Israeli Hackathon for student entrepreneurs.
Read about more experiences at schools teaching entrepreneurship.