Youth Entrepreneurs "Make It"

9th grade Integrated Design Lab students are working at the Carnegie Science Center Fab Lab to design products to sell in a student-store.

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri
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Holy Family Academy students take "integrated design lab" as a core class in 9th and 10th grades. In the 9th grade this semester, students are learning how to use digital fabrication tools to develop products they might sell to earn an income to support their basic needs and fund activities at the school like dances, trips and uniforms. The students are each learning about business development, use design thinking practices to understand potential client needs and user-test their products. The next phase of the product life cycle will include developing marketing plans, a logo and branding for their product idea as well as pricing strategy. Some students are laser cutting earrings, cell phone cases and other basic office support tools like business card and iPad stands. The students use the Carnegie Science Center Fab Lab, which they attend weekly to prototype, produce and iterate their designs. They are gaining empathy for their potential clients by interviewing and observation and each have a student or group blog. Several students are considering kick-starter campaigns. Maker Education is MAKING a very real difference in the lives of our students as they hope to earn income off of their designs while helping others make daily tasks a little more simple! Students in the 10th grade are taking their making skills to a new level by tackling social justice challenges in the community like building an outdoor classroom in an underserved neighborhood with vacant land or designing services to distribute food to areas of the city that are considered "food deserts." 

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