High School Students Create Startups: Teaching Design in an Interdisciplinary Engineering and Entrepreneurship Class

talk – 30 min | Feb 4 – 3:00

Why wait until university? Teaching design in high school equips students with empathy and a design thinking mindset that they can apply in any field they pursue. Plus, engaging with industry professionals exposes students to career possibilities they may have never imagined.

At a high school in Redmond, WA, students create startups in an interdisciplinary design, engineering, and business class. Through the iterative process of building a startup to serve specific customers, students are empowered with an entrepreneurial mindset, connected to a network of industry professionals, and exposed to frameworks and tools that help them design better products and businesses.

In this session, I’ll share my educator’s perspective in designing and teaching the course: 1) What design and entrepreneurship education can look like at the high school level, 2) Why teaching design in high school (and earlier) benefits us all, 3) How I keep instruction authentic, engaging, and relevant for students, and 4) How I build industry partnerships and leverage partners as speakers, facilitators, mentors, and judges.

Melanie Kong

Melanie Kong
Engineer and Educator, United States

About the speaker

Melanie Kong

Melanie Kong

Engineer and Educator, United States

High school STEM educator helping students create startups, co-founder/CEO of the education startup Floop, and former chemical engineer committed to improving STEM education in K-12 schools and developing creative solutions for problems in education

Core Competencies: Entrepreneurship education, project-based instruction, inquiry-based learning, curriculum development, standards-based grading, product development, R&D, user research, data analysis

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