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Entrepreneurship Activity: Pipe Cleaner Entrepreneur

This lesson will demonstrate the importance of political and economic freedoms on the entrepreneurial spirit. Students will work in groups to accomplish two tasks; building a book stand and constructing a bridge.

Using Handout A: Book Stand Group Task Sheets and Handout C: Bridge Group Task Sheets, groups that have more political freedoms tend to do better in accomplishing the economic tasks of producing a book stand and bridge than groups that are more limited in their political freedoms.

Repeat this activity so that there is a large number of samples helps with making this conclusion.

Materials needed: 2 bags of pipe cleaners (about 800) Assign 3 or 4 students per group, 6 to 8 groups. Each group should have: About 100 pipe cleaners (a handful) and Handout A: Book Stand Group Task Sheet that the teacher has cut out upside down on their desk.

Half of the groups will have political and economic freedom to accomplish the task assigned, while the other half will have limitations on their freedoms based on the assignment they receive. Time the activity.

Depending on the enthusiasm, efficiency, skills of different classes, the teacher should limit the team’s time to accomplish making a book stand to between 5-12 minutes. Have each team present their book stand and the teacher will test the book stand with a book. Helpful hint: pick a lighter paperback book if the quality of the construction is not very good. Or if you have hardback textbooks than several groups can be tested at the same time.

Students should be filling out Handout B: Book Stand Results. Have students of the political and economic freedom groups fill out the first two questions. Students that were more limited (the right side of the Handout A: Book Stand Group Task Sheet) should fill out questions 1 and 3.

Repeat the assignment. Keep the same groups but the groups that had freedom during the first round now will try to function and complete the task with limited political freedoms. Groups that were limited during the first round will now have freedom.

Use Handout C: Bridge Group Task Sheets, the same pipe cleaners as the first round, or the teacher can use fresh ones. The teacher may add a half a piece of paper to every group in order to represent water that the bridge needs to be constructed over. Time the activity.

This task is generally considered harder and groups may need more time. Allow between 8-20 minutes depending on your class.

Have each group present their bridge. They will record the various groups results on the paper Handout D: Bridge Results. The teacher will test the bridge’s strength. Helpful hint: the teacher may use another book (light or heavy) or a stapler, or tape dispenser also works well.

Have students of the political and economic freedom groups fill out the first two questions. Students with limited political and economic freedom will fill out the first and third questions.

Have student complete the Handout E: Entrepreneurship Concluding Thoughts as a conclusion or for homework.

Have students answer the following question:

  • Does having political freedoms help in accomplishing economic tasks? If not, why not? If so, how so? Use examples from the reading or activity.