The Process of Selecting Ideas for School Projects, Examinations and Implementation By Galit Zamler
This is an example of a process of brainstorming ideas for projects, examination and implementation in the Mordei HaGetao't school in Ramat Gan, Israel
A group of students from grade three to five who chose to study entrepreneurial leadership in the Mordei HaGetao't school in Ramat Gan attended the Entrepreneurship for Kids program.
The goal was to enable students, parallel to the program studies, to raise ideas for projects and if possible, to implement them- so they could experience the process of being an entrepreneur - from concept, through design, and implementation.
Here is the process that the children experienced, displayed here. You can see how many ideas for projects were raised. Some were abandoned - and the reasons for that, and how the initial ideas were transformed in the process of joint thinking.
Step 1 - Exposure to different ideas of projects
The first meetings discussed the subject "Who is an entrepreneur?", "Entrepreneur skills and Learning from other entrepreneurs' experience" - in these meetings, students were exposed to a wide variety of projects: social, business, and social business. Also, they were exposed to projects of children and projects of older people, technological ventures and non-technological projects and so on.
The purpose of the presentation of various projects and stories about entrepreneurs was to awaken the spark that exists in each of the children to dare to come up with ideas for projects, even if they sounded very unrealistic.
Equally important is exposing students to failed projects; some are fascinating ideas that look promising and have the potential for success. Sometimes the failure is of famous entrepreneurs that are known for children. Exposure to failed projects is important and encourages children to dare to try and fail, with the understanding that failure is important and apparently an inevitable process of entrepreneurship. Therefore, they should not worry too much about it, but accept it with full understanding, as part of the development of the entrepreneur to success.
Step 2 - Raising ideas for projects by young entrepreneurs
After the process of learning and thinking - how ideas for projects are born, the children raised their own ideas for projects.
The focus at this stage was to accept any idea that the group raised without filtering and without any restrictions, provided that students think they are capable of implementing the idea.
The result is a range of ideas presented here:
- Microwave that is also a TV
- Intercom to call a guard
- Hairdressing at school
- Shirt for any size
- A pencil that does homework
- Small cupboard for every child in the classroom
- Knife that is safe to use
- A game center - board games in which the students can play during recess
- Pencil that turns into a pen
- Electric bag
- Buffet at school
- Shoes to lift us
- Kiosk at school
- A yard for each class
Step 3 - Explaining ideas
We learned that if the idea stays in your head, it won't lead you anywhere. You have to share your idea with others, ask for feedback and help.
The young entrepreneurs have realized that they need to know how to explain their idea so others will understand what they're thinking about. Sometimes what you think is obvious, is not always clear to others.
Step 4 - Presenting the idea to an audience and asking questions
The young entrepreneurs were preparing to present their ideas to the class.
We learned together, how to speak in front of an audience, that our message is important - and it must be clear and to the point, but also pay attention to our body language - that we are looking at the audience and creating eye contact, and our tone of voice should be clear and confident.
The students presented their ideas to the class, to clarify their intention on the idea for the project.
Each student presented his idea for the project and the members of the entrepreneur group asked questions for clarification.
At this point, the owners of the idea just heard the questions, which were written on a page, and by the next meeting, the young entrepreneurs were asked to come up with answers to the questions.
The project: microwave that has a door as a TV screen
- How to build such a microwave?
- Where will the TV be?
- Is the TV on the door or in the microwave?
- Who watches TV in the kitchen? Who needs this?
- Will the TV work only when the microwave works?
- Why do we need a microwave in the school?
- Can the TV warm up when the microwave works?
The young entrepreneur - Lia came back with answers:
The project: an intercom that calls the guard when someone comes to the school's gate, and the guard is not there, then clicks on the intercom and then the guard receives a radio message and comes to open the gate.
- How will the intercom call the guard and from where?
- What will this invention be called?
- How would it work from the technical aspect?
- What device will the guard have?
The young entrepreneur - Maya replied to the questions:
The project: barber in the school, so that it is close and accessible to the students.
- Where will the barber shop be placed?
- How will we raise money for a barber shop?
- What is special about the barber shop?
- Who will be the barber?
The project: a shirt for any size - a shirt that you can shrink and stretch it to fit different sizes, therefore saving money in buying shirts.
At the end of the process, the project shirt for any size was implemented. Clicking on this link will direct you to the page where it talks about the project in details.
- How can one shirt be all sizes?
- Is it one shirt with many sizes or several shirts with several sizes?
- What material is the shirt made of?
- What is the purpose of the shirt?
- Who needs such a product? Who is the target demographic?
Initiative: A homework, doing pencil
Whoever does not like to do homework will use a pencil, to which attached is a small device that will do their homework for them - a pencil that knows to read questions, find answers and write them too.
- How does the pencil identify the written questions?
- Where does the pencil get its answers from?
- How can the pencil write the answers alone?
Young entrepreneur, Eden, Answered:
Initiative: A cabinet for all
Every student will have a small cabinet in the classroom, in it he or she can keep their books and notepads and thus do not have to carry a heavy backpack.
Initiative: A safe to use a knife
A knife that prevents accidental accidents during use, especially when being handled by children, who are not as cautious.
- Where would the safety cover come out from?
- How would the safety cover know to come out on time?
- How can we disable the cover in order to keep using the knife?
- Who has the knowledge/proficiency to make this knife?
Initiative: School Game Room
Establish a room in the school with different games for the benefit of the students, during recess or open periods - Board games, computer games, video games and more.
- How would the school find a location for this?
- Where would the money for this room come from?
- Is the a need for a recreation room?
- Would video/computer games be allowed?
- Is the use of cell phones permitted in the room?
- Who would supervise and maintain order in the game room?
Young entrepreneurs, Shahar and Shira, answered:
Initiative: A pencil-pen hybrid
A pencil that can, with a touch of a button, turn into a pen and vice versa.
- How would the pencil tip turn into a pen?
- Are there two holes, one for the ink, one for the led?
Young entrepreneur, Afik, answered:
Initiative: Electric Bag
A bag with a small, built in, motor that with the touch of a button, easily open or close the bag to help people whose hands are full.
- How do the bags open and close?
- Where does the electricity come from?
- Is it safe?
Young entrepreneur, Roei, answered:
Initiative: School Luncheonette
A luncheonette with hot plates for school students. A child who does not have a warm meal waiting at home may come to the luncheonette and to dine or just to change up your breakfast once in a while.
- When would the students eat there?
- Where would we get groceries from?
- Where would we get a cook?
- Are we prepared for a Kosher certificate? (Roughly 2000 Nis a year)
Young entrepreneurs, Noah and Geffen, answered:
Initiative: Shoes that lift us
Electrical shoes that will lift us, that way we no longer need to climb stairs and we could arrive at different locations quickly and without effort.
- How would the shoes lift us?
- What kind of voltage is required to lift a person?
- Who needs this? (Who is the target demographic?)
- Would it work like an elevator, lifting us several floors high?
- How would the shoes lift us up the stairs?
- What happens when it rains?
Young entrepreneur, Roei, answered:
The project: a kiosk at the school
Establishing a kiosk at the school that sells sweets and things that children love.
- How will we build the kiosk?
- The food will come from where?
- Who will prepare the food?
- Who will sell in the kiosk?
- When will the kiosk sell?
The young entrepreneurs - Amichai, Ofek and Ido replied to the questions:
The project: plot for every class
Land allocation in the schoolyard for each class, so that each class can play every day at recess in its own field.
- From where will we get all the plots for all the classes?
Step 5 - Following the questions that were asked
The questions asked aroused among the thinkers of the ideas for projects to have a second thought about their ideas.
Some returned with answers to the questions, and some of them have decided not to continue with the idea.
At this point it was proposed to all students to take part in any project they like and even more than one project, even if it is not their idea, but their friends from the entrepreneurial group.
At the same time, we examined whether these ideas have already been implemented, and if so it prevents us from implementing them.
We found that already in 2006 it was thought about the idea: a microwave that is also a TV. (See this page) - together we thought why then we don't see this product on the market? We raised various theories, and Lia - the entrepreneur student, that raised the idea decided to improve the existing invention, and thus to abandon the idea.
We also found, that it is probably not practical to develop electric shows to lift us, because it takes a lot of electrical power to lift a person's weight, and would be difficult for a person to drag on with shoes that are very heavy. But we also found that this idea can be implemented in another way like in this video:
So Roy the student who conceived the idea, decided that the shoes will be with springs that bump us, and the effect of the quick and easy walk will continue to exist this way.
However, we found that these shoes already exist in the market.
The ideas that were dropped at this stage following the questions asked and following the test:
Step 6 - Approval of the school principal
The school principle Ronni Shasha, and her deputy Sarah Bahar, summarize the theme of entrepreneurship in the school, and explore the various ideas for projects, which the entrepreneur students decided to promote, and give their impressions of each idea:
- A microwave that is a TV - a great idea! Do the entrepreneur students know how to put it into practice?
- An intercom that calls the guard - the guard should always be near the gate, and if he is not there, then he is either touring the yard or in the washroom, and in these cases, there is no point in calling him.
- A shirt for every size - a great idea! They should visit a designer/fashion designer for guidance on the idea.
- A pencil that does homework -???
- A safe to use a knife - a great idea! Should brainstorm how to implement this idea.
- A game room - a lovely idea! But the experience shows that it is difficult to maintain order in the game room and parts would get lost. They should think of a game place for smaller groups, so that it is possible to keep an eye on the order.
- A pencil that turns into a pen - a nice idea. Do they know how to implement it?
- Electric bag - there is room to clarify this idea; parents can be used to implement it.
- Buffet at the school - the school is not prepared to establish a buffet for the school students.
- A kiosk at the school - a nice idea, but at the school, candy cannot be sold, and the school PTA does not approve of the sale of goods in return for money at the school.
Following the feedback from the management of the school, we were left with the following ideas:
Step 7 - Moving forward with ideas that have been approved
With these ideas we continued to move forward. First, we had a shared thinking of how it could be possible and whether the ideas could be implemented.
This thinking further resulted in:
Ideas that remained within the framework of copywriting:
A pencil that does homework - we concluded that theoretically it is possible to implement the idea this way: there are now devices that can read written material and understand its content (like Quicktionary that identifies the text and translates it). So in using this technology, you can read the questions and understand them, upload them to Google and Google will find the answer, and then print the answer, and since there are now pens that know to print, this invention is possible to implement, but it will require the knowledge and resources which we don't have.
A safe to use a knife - the students connected to this idea because everyone has experienced a cut from a kitchen knife or saw someone get cut with a kitchen knife. We thought it might be possible to implement this idea by using heat knife blade sensors, which will identify body temperature (the finger) and once the knife blade gets too close to the finger, a cover will cover the blade and the person will not get cut. The reaction time of the sensors would need to be very quick. We concluded that this is possible, but at the time, we don't have the knowledge and resources needed to carry out the project.
A pencil that turns into a pen - we concluded that there is thinking to do about how to implement this from a technical point, and in the short time remaining until the end of the year, it will be difficult to implement the project.
Ideas for which we sought the help of parents and their advice
In the education week, there was a meeting with the parents of the entrepreneur students. We shared with the parents the processes we went through during the year, and asked for their help with advice and how to implement the following ideas:
Microwave that is a TV
The idea was presented to the parents and we told them that someone has already thought about this idea, and together we thought - why then don't we see it in the market? The parents expressed their opinion on the matter. While talking, it turned out that the father of the entrepreneur student could help her in implementing the project - and it was decided that they would try together to implement it.
This idea was presented to the parents as well. Some thought it was not necessary and others liked it. There was someone who improved the idea and suggested that it should also be implemented in baskets that are sold in retail chains.
Ideas that we implemented
A shirt for any size
(Click on the link to read about the process of implementing the project in details).
Yair, the owner of the idea, sketched a drawing of the shirt as he saw it in his mind.
The entire entrepreneurship group came to visit the fashion designer, Rotem Eyal, owner of the network Boo designer clothes to hear her professional opinion on the matter.
We gathered Orit Barshi - owner of the studio Genesis for designing dresses, to assist us in taking the idea of the shirt to an actual product.
A Play room
In light of the opinions, we decided to make a change to the original idea. We gave up on the idea of a single play room for every school, because we realized that it would be difficult to cope with determining and supervising when it comes to a large number of students. We also thought it would be difficult to make sure to arrange the games and return them to their correct place. We decided to establish a play room in each classroom, and the teachers will determine which people will look after the order, and the distribution of games between the students.
This is a presentation of the project implementation process and how it was successfully executed:
In addition, we have decided to implement the idea in another way. Participants of the entrepreneurship kids program will operate the students from grades 1 and 2 in a day of mind games. We asked for and received approval for that by the administrator of the school.
This is a summary of the presentation of the project:
Even the original idea of this project has been modified. Because of the children's affection for sweets, we realized that we needed to change the mix of products sold in the kiosk, so they fit the spirit of the school. So the young entrepreneurs decided to sell sandwiches, ice cream and drinks. In addition, to cope with the constraint of not being able to sell for money, we decided that the sale would be for bottles that have a deposit fee refund on them.
This is a presentation that summarizes the project: Mordei Kiosk: