Creating Curious Learners through K5 STEM & Entrepreneurship

By: | January 6, 2019
District Name: Barrington 220 School District, Illinois
District State: Illinois
District Website: http://www.barrington220.org/

It’s never too early to start STEM learning. At Barrington 220 School District, fifth-graders are tackling the subjects.

“Fresh INC Marketplace” is a new innovative eight-week program that launched last fall. And it could be the nation’s first elementary school entrepreneurship curriculum.

Fresh INC Martketplace teaches fifth-graders the skills needed to create, launch and monetize their own businesses. The district partners with the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, which provides business mentors to help students develop their business models.

In a five-step sequence, students will devise product ideas to solve problems they’ve discussed in class. They create a business model for selling products to the public, and then sell products online through a private e-commerce platform created for the district.

The program also has students working in groups to solve challenging math and engineering problems. “Over time, the students have adapted to learn the real-life skill of working together and communicating effectively to get the job done,” says Superintendent Brian Harris.

Teaching entrepreneurship prompts students to think more creatively, ambitiously and strategically.

“Entrepreneurship has historically taught underrepresented populations, like women and minorities, that these opportunities apply to them as well, spurring more to own businesses and take risks later in life,” Harris adds.

The middle and high school students at Barrington have a well-established STEM program. The Barrington High School Business Incubator course was a first-of-its-kind nationwide and is being duplicated at dozens of schools.