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Teacher Reflections: Confidence through Prototyping

Each year, we welcome new educators to the EdCorps Community. What really gets us excited is when we hear stories from the classroom that embody student ownership, passion, and learning. So when new founder,  Eric Robb, from St. Louis told us about the contagious excitement in his middle school class, we had to know more!

Confidence through Prototyping

By Eric Robb

A week ago, I casually mentioned to my middle schoolers in the Design and Modeling class that we would begin an exciting, new project that would give them the opportunity to create a product and develop a business. This wasn’t even the official kick-off of the business, just a passing comment during an entirely different assignment.

I didn’t realize that this one comment would strike a chord within the classroom, particularly with one of the quieter students in the class. Suddenly Sierra couldn’t stop talking, brainstorming, making suggestions to the rest of the class. She immediately asked, “what about making pet collars?” She shared that she makes bracelets using a material called Paracord. She had even made a collar for her dog, and volunteered to bring it into class to show it off.  

At this point, the entire class was talking about the idea and were bought into the concept. The ideas were snowballing and the collaboration was alive. Another student spoke up and said, “Why don’t we make a matching bracelet for the pet owner?” Again, this was met with great enthusiasm from the class.

Next, we needed a company name. At first, Sierra suggested “Collar Me Perfect.” Then, about five minutes later, she spoke up and gave another option; “Para-Cord Pets.” Everyone really liked this name. Over the course of one class period that didn’t even have an assignment, the students named their business. The very next day, Sierra brought in her prototype and told me she had begun designing a web page with a fellow classmate.

At the beginning of the year, I was somewhat reluctant to bring our future EdCorp up to my class – not knowing what kind of reaction starting a business would get. Now, I’m just getting ready to *officially* kick off the business.  These students already have a jump start and an unexpected hero in their journey, Sierra.