High Potential Learners (HAL) students from Bluffs Middle School and Gering Junior High School participated in the Nebraska Extension Educators Inventure Day program at Gering High School on Monday, March 7.
The Entrepreneurial Adventure is designed to encourage high school students to think creatively about starting a business.
Sarah Avila, head of eighth grade HALs for Bluffs Middle School, said this was the first year the school had participated in the activity and the first time the two schools had joined their HALs program. Inventure Day is designed to foster creativity and give students a better understanding of a business creation project. Students from the combined schools were intentionally mixed together to encourage them to learn to work with people they may have just met.
“The two schools working together, I think that’s something they don’t do a lot,” Avila said. “It’s really nice for them to have the chance to meet new like-minded people who are interested in entrepreneurship. It gets them thinking about how they can benefit their communities and I think they had a great time.
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Students were divided into teams and asked to develop a product inspired by an unusual widget. Sydney extension educator Laura Narges explained that pupils were first given a random widget or object to give them inspiration. They used this inspiration to develop a product for their company.
“The widget they’re using today is actually an egg turner,” Narjes said. “An egg turner is used in an incubator to make it easier to turn eggs so you don’t have to manually move them every day. They are actually 3D printed so we can mass produce them quite easily.
Gering’s high school gymnasium was set up with tables so each team could start collaborating on their creative process. Although many students were seeing an egg turner for the first time, ideas began to flow quickly.
Narjes said that once teams go through the product development process, they travel to different stations to find out their next steps for target markets, branding and funding.
“They learn about financing,” she explained. “Things to think about with financing (are) how much is it going to cost to make your product, what materials are you going to use, how much are you going to charge for your product, what kind of margin do you need to be able to have a profit at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, the teams participated in a Quick Pitch Competition and presented their business plan. The judges were Julie Siebke, Laura Narjes, Byron Olsen and Nathan Rice.
“It sounds a lot like ‘Shark Tank’,” Narjes said. “We are happy to offer them if they win from their judges. Students choose their favorite too, and we have fun little gifts for those students too. »
The winning business ideas and team members were:
– Dooder Shooter: Hope Mitchell, Eain Peterson, Rachel Boyd, Natalie Larsen, Landon Heine, Breianna Bauer.
– AimBot: Nyah Bruner, Libby Baum, Cara Schothauer, Carter Lathrop.
– Best Loop: Chase Cline, Copper Robbins, Abigail Hecheroth, Joel Ramierez, Alex Sabala, Allison Baer.
– APT table: Aurora Harkins, Kolin Harmon, Chase Asselin, Jacey Cochran, Parker Marlow, Reece Knight, Alexis Gonzalez-Saldana.
Avila said the day was a great opportunity for HAL students to experience aspects of invention and entrepreneurship. Scottsbluff middle schoolers in the HAL program are also led by sixth-grade Leah Massey and seventh-grade Jon Amundsen. Each leader develops enrichment programs throughout the school year, such as a “Shark Tank” project, learning to work on a Makey Makey circuit board, an escape room, or a variety of STEM projects.
“My latest project is a combination and a go-to project for (eight HAL years),” Avila said. “If they want to focus on STEM, they can, or focus on history. They can do whatever they want, but it’s a requirement that they do a project.
After completing their final project, Avila plans to take the students to an archaeological site in Sunrise, Wyoming.
Nicole Heldt is a reporter for the Star-Herald and covers agriculture. She can be reached at 308-632-9044 or by email at [email protected]