Entrepreneur Project Promotes Career Readiness
Chardon Middle School social studies teacher Mrs. Rachel Holub and English language arts teacher Ms. Ellen Bostwick led the implementation of the Young Entrepreneur Institute® Pitch Challenge in CMS sixth-grade classes this fall as a capstone project to their cross-curricular economics unit.
The YEI® Pitch Challenge, a sales pitch contest for Northeast Ohio K-12 students, is designed to help students acquire and apply creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and presentation knowledge, thereby promoting essential workforce readiness skills.
“As our students learned about the fundamental questions of economics in social studies, they also studied technological creations and evaluated their merit as helpful inventions in ELA,” said Mrs. Holub. “For the Pitch Challenge, they then worked together as partners to create a business whose purpose would be inventing a new piece of technology that would provide a service or help solve a problem in the community.”
To simulate the economic concepts of scarcity and trade learned in their social studies classes, students were given a limited supply of resources to create invention prototypes. Using communication skills they had acquired through ELA lessons, students pitched their ideas and inventions via ELA in-class presentations in December just before winter break.
Mrs. Holub said she and her colleagues are so proud of the CMS students’ hard work and creativity shown throughout the project.
“They came up with incredibly clever ideas, and I am impressed with their collaborative efforts in creating a company and items with their partners that they could sell to solve real-world problems,” added principal Tim Velotta. “Inventions included the Easy Meme Oven, the Outfit Matcher, the Handy Candy Robot, the Sound-Canceling Blur Your Brother headphones, the Eco 2021 trash sorter, and the Hands-Free Grocery Holder.”
To learn more about the YEI® Pitch Challenge and toolkit for teachers, visit the YEI® website at youngentrepreneurinstitute.org
Grant Funds New STEM Opportunities
Chardon Middle School initiated a soft launch of its two new Cricut Explore® Air die-cutting machines last month through an ornament-making afterschool project for seventh-grade students. The new equipment, which fosters STEM skills development, will provide opportunities for students in all grade levels to learn advanced design and printing via the school’s STEM, science and art courses, as well as through various extracurricular clubs.
The die-cutting machines were funded by a Chardon Schools Foundation grant awarded to CMS science teacher Jackie Brown following her grant proposal to the non-profit organization in late 2019. In addition to the two machines, the grant provided supplementary items, including cutting mats, vinyl and iron-on materials, card stock, replacement blades, weeding tools, and pens.
Students design their projects using the Cricut Design Space® free web tool and then produce their projects using the purchased equipment. Paper, card stock, adhesive vinyl, and iron-on materials are among the substrates that are compatible with the machines.
“The 3-D printers we already had at the school are one type of advanced printing,” said Mrs. Brown. “Cricut® printers expose students to yet another type. We plan on offering different activities like making iron-on designs for t-shirts and cards for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. Teams and clubs will be able to design and print their own shirts and other items. Thank you to the Chardon Schools Foundation for their generosity.”
Vaping Awareness Event
Chardon Schools hosted a “Teen Vaping: It May Be More Than You Think” family resource event on the evening of Jan. 19 at Chardon Middle School. This one-hour presentation, held in the school’s large-group instructional room, featured local agency speakers who educated community members about nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vaping trends in our local community.
Both Chardon High School and Chardon Middle School parents and guardians were invited to the event, which was held in-person and live-streamed courtesy of Geauga-TV.
Specific topics covered included the dangers of nicotine, aerosols and THC and their impact on the brain and lungs; and warning signs of vaping use.
“Sadly, we’re seeing it at a younger and younger age,” said Chardon police department school resource officer Derek Carlson during his presentation.
Speakers also included Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers tobacco prevention specialists Christie Gigliotti and Matthew Petersen; Ravenwood Health prevention consultant Missy Bell and director of counseling in substance use and criminal justice Kate Gehlfuss; and University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center community outreach nurse Jessica Matthews.
In addition to discussing trends, risks and available resources, each speaker touched on the importance of parents and guardians having a conversation with their teenagers and preteen-aged children about the dangers of vaping and substance use, presenting families with tips on how to initiate the discussion.