What Student Passion Looks Like

What Student Passion Looks Like

In my Fair Haven Innovates, I’ve been using social entrepreneurship to help expose students to design, computer science, engineering, and the digital arts as well as to help them develop the soft skills they need to be successful. In its second full year, student passion is on full display as I’ve given up even more control of the classroom to students as I’ve asked them to grow a business around what they care about with whomever they want. Students haven’t disappointed. Below is a snapshot of my 6th-8th graders businesses. I’ve asked them to share their team name, what they’re making, why they’re making it, and what they’ve learned so far, and why they like class.

FH Gizmos is our 6th grade edcorps where we form product teams that find, create, and sell the solutions to your everyday problems. In FH Gizmos, your problem is our project!
Here is what our 6th graders up to:

Team Name: JMJ Frames
Product: Custom Picture Frames
Why we made this: We decided to sell picture frames so people could have a nice place to hang school photos, graduation pictures, and more.
What you’ve learned: How to use gravit so we can make models of our frames.
What you like most about class: The constant feeling of learning something new.

Cutting Board Team
Custom engraved cutting boards
We chose to make the cutting boards because we thought it was a cool idea and also would make money.
We have learned that running a business is very hard and takes a lot of work.
I like that we can make our own cutting boards in the class and also we can sell them to people. I also like to write up things like product reviews. We learned to work in a team not in sports, how to advertise, how to be more mature and work for myself. We like the freedom.

Just M & L
Custom video intros and outros
We decide to edit videos because we enjoy it.
That teamwork makes things go better.
Working with a team and editing with them.

St. Jude’s Supporters
Beaded leather bracelets that support St. Jude’s Research Hospital.
We wanted to raise money to help support children with cancer by donating to St. Jude’s Research hospital.
That when running a business there is always more to do. I like how we get to work in groups and we have the ability to work on our own and we get to make are own decisions. I have learned that it’s not super easy to run a business. You have to work hard and focus and not goof off.

DJ Music
I make my own beats.
I thought this was fun and people like to listen to it.
I have learned how to do what I love to do by just messing around
I can do what I like to do

Wave Designs
Handmade bracelets
Because I learned how to make bracelets at camp over the summer and I wanted to sell them to others.
I learned how to create a business, send emails, make proposals, and work with having a deadline. Mr. Aviles is a great teacher who is considerate and I like the independence he gives us with our ideas.

Skype Kids
The Skype Bowl and merchandise.
We sell it because Skype is a good thing and we want to make it better.
We learned how to make a website.
I like working with Skype.

Dollors for Dogs
We are selling custom engraved dog tags. You can put any information you want on the front of the dog tag, and then on the back of the dog tags it will say I helped the ASPCA. Some of the profit will be going to the ASPCA to help the animals.
We have decided to sell dog tags because we decided that it is a product that people will want to buy for their dogs. Most people love dogs and animals, so we made a product that has to do with that.
We learned that sometimes you have to pivot on an idea.

ALC Memories.
Custom made Shadow Boxes.
We thought it was a cool idea and we could make a good amount of money with it.
How to make a business and create products and to be professional.
We love creating more shadow boxes.

[Welcome To Fair Haven Innovates]

Monopoly On The Go
We are selling a car-friendly Monopoly travel board with an app to go along with it.
From personal experience, its hard to play Monopoly or board games in the car.
It is a lot more difficult than you think to make an app.
The idea of making our own businesses and paving our own way.

Esports for Edu
We’re making a digital esports package for schools who want to start their own esports team.
We want to sell our virtual esports package digitally of course. We will make a mark on the fastest growing industry as well as taking it to a whole new level. I think we may be able to make a lot of money doing this.
I have learned about how esports work and are currently learning what goes on behind the scenes in the fastest growing industry in the world.
We like how we get to work on fun projects and sell them to make money.

Warrior Wear
We are selling bracelets that are the colors of the military and the profits go to Wounded Warrior Project.
I decided to sell this because my dad is in the military and I never knew how to say thank you, so I thought I would make the bracelets and the money could go towards the Wounded Warrior Project.
I I have learned that I have to work faster. Mr. Aviles call it hustle.
I like being able to make things

The Bean Boys
We are selling an app to make it easier for people to volunteer.
We decided to sell this because my mother is the PTA president and she says that events they host need more volunteers.
I have learned how to do some simple coding and graphic design.
I like this class because I am free to do (almost) anything I want.

Simply Beauty Box
Our group is making a subscription makeup box for girls our age because most girls, when they start testing makeup, don’t know what to do so that’s what we will show them.
Because when I started playing with makeup I didn’t know exactly how to use it so that’s what I want to show them.
I learned how to make a good business plan and pitch and that we can actually invent something useful.
I like working and making the box with my friends.

Simple Spray
Our product is Simple Spray. Simple Spray keeps ticks away!
We were inspired to make this product because one of our teammates sister has Lyme disease. We wanted to make outside activities more fun than worry.
We have learned that making a product requires a lot of hard stamina and focus because you need to be precise when making a product. We have been taking notes and finding our way through the problems that we faced during the process of making this product.
That your imagination can take control and doing what we love creating!

Sweet Relief
A stress relief subscription box for stressed students of all ages. This includes products that are student-focused unlike other subscription boxes that are marketed to adults. Our box is made by stressed students for stressed students!
Lately we have been noticing that some of our peers (and us) have been feeling the common pressure of school work. We were brainstorming ideas on how we could solve it and we came up with finding things that help with with stress relief and putting them into a subscription box.
I’ve learned the steps of making a product: empathize, define, imagine, make, and test. really helped us find our way when we were struggling.
Having the independence to do the business that YOU want not what anyone else wants. Also you get freedom to do things on your own.

In FH Grows, 7th graders learn to be stewards of the environment while leveraging technology to help our garden and business grow. We sell our herbs and produce online and in our student-run farmers market. When we’re not working in the gardens, we are solving the environmental problems of our future.

We are selling rosemary and basil to local restaurants and people in our town.
We decided to sell this because people needed it especially during the winter.
How to grow plants and how to compost.
We love working in the garden

Squirmy Virmies
We built and maintain our worm farms and sell the castings. We decided to sell that because it is a great fertilizer.
We learned that we need to be great worm parents and treat them well and fun ways to document the journey though video.
I like that we get to see the worms. They’re more interesting than we thought.

Mine Those Tacos
We sell rain gardens. One of our gardens was flooding, so Rutgers worked with us to make a rain garden. Rain gardens also help control pollution since our river is being polluted by fertilizer runoff.
We learned how to build a rain garden and why everyone should have one. We love to go into the garden.

Sister Shrooms
We are selling whitecap mushrooms to our local pizzeria because my group and I decided we wanted to learn more about them.
I have learned how to grow mushrooms and selling strategies.
I like that we have freedom to learn our own passions, but we still are guided well.

Hydroponics Team
We decided to sell basil and spinach because it works well with our hydroponics tank.
We learned that small changes can affect the plants so much. For example, depending how much fertilizer we add. We love testing the PH of our system and picking our produce.

FH Leads is our 8th grade incubator. Here, students can choose from three pathways: they can help grow a local business, create an impact project that makes a difference in their community, or start their own business that we can take with us when we graduate.

Fortnite Friday
My group and I are working together with Umbertos, our local pizza place, to get more people using their new back room. We are helping to get more people in the back room by holding a fortnite tournament.
It is hard to plan an event and there are many things to do in order to make an event successful.
That we get to work together in groups and we get to work with local businesses.

Student Lawn and Dog Care
We are selling lawn and dog services because it is something that we as a group have lots of experience and knowledge in those fields.
We’ve learned how to be an entrepreneur and have our own business and be self employed.
We love making money.

Sister Squad
We invented the School Shack, which is a store in the school where we sell different products.
We decided to invent it because when we were in 4th grade it was opened but then abandoned. It is also an issue in school that people run out of supplies or they don’t have water for a sports practice or class and they wouldn’t have anywhere to buy it.
I have learned so far how to find the best price for supplies online and how to find the unit price so I pay the cheapest for the best quality. I have also learned that with our first business, Pickleroo, that sometimes you try things and they don’t end up working out, but that has to be something that you’re okay with.
What I like most about class that I get the opportunity to try new things that relate to the world outside of school. For example, you learn how to start your own business and how to deal with setting prices and purchasing inventory. Creating your own product requires strategy and a lot of tries and fails that prepare you for an actually job you might get.

Student Lawn and Dog Care
Our group is a lawn care business that can also walk dogs.
We decided to sell that because we thought it would be a good group project since we could also make some money.
I have learned how to create a business and the steps you need to do before you actually start the business. I’ve learned how to price things, how to make flyers.
I like that we have the freedom to pick our own business.

R & E
We are creating a new urban gardening technique. We call it the urban ladder. We decided to sell this because people who live in urban areas may not have space for gardens so this ladder can fit easily along a wall and can collapse and can be moved around.
We have learned that we can work around ideas but also you might need to go back to the drawing board many times if something doesn’t work. From this you learn from your mistakes.
I like making a business and learning and developing entrepreneur skills. Also, we were able to build something which is what I like best especially involving gardens and Urban farming which I think is cool.

Luck For Pups
We are selling an interactive dog toy to improve the lives of dogs at homes and in shelters.
Luck for Pups decided to sell interactive dogs because we wanted to help both lifestyles of dogs, dogs at home and dogs in shelters. Our business helps dog in homes because it gives them something to do when their owner is at school or work all day. Our business is helping dogs in shelters because 35% of the profits go to them and they can play with our toy when they’re in their cages.
I have learned so far how to overcome obstacles by not just staying stuck on one problem and continue to work through them to be productive. I have also learned how make a product and grow a company.
I like most about class creating our business and working ourselves on how to grow it. What I like most about Innovation Lab is how we are allowed to run our own business and do what we think would be right for our business.

Beads for a Cause
Originally we wanted to go work with Riverview hospital and spread joy to the patients, but that didn’t work out. We still wanted to do something good so we decided to make bracelets and donate a dollar to cancer charity for every bracelet we sell.
I have learned how to run a business, especially how to use social media marketing.
I like running this business with my friends.

The Pilates Partners
We are advertising our local business The Pilates Project. We will help them attract more teen customers.
Because my partner and I both wanted to help them gain more teen customers because we are teens ourselves.
We have learned about the health benefits of Pilates and what its like to run a local business.
Being able to socialize with friends as well as local businesses.

I hope my students’ passions have inspired you to wonder what amazing things your students could do if given the chance. Whether you use entrepreneurship or not, chances are your kids want to do something awesome. We just have to get out of their way.

Until Next Time,


cross-posted at Teched Up Teacher

Chris Aviles presents on education topics including gamification, technology integration, BYOD, blended learning, and the flipped classroom. Read more at Teched Up Teacher.

Chris Aviles is a STEM teacher, edtech specialist, and president of Garden State Esports. He is also a regular contributor to Tech & Learning.