Chicago 8th Graders Use Kickstarter To Go To Market

A group of Chicago 8th graders have successfully funded a collaboratively-designed project on Kickstarter.

The campaign is a product of the Science and Entrepreneurship Exchange (SEE), a program launched by Chicago’s Nettelhorst School aimed at teaching young people some of the ins and outs of product design, manufacturing and startups. The program is called dig-8. The “dig” stands for discover, innovate and grow.

Beyond Design has more on the program…

With a focus on experiential learning in entrepreneurship and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), SEE’s approach incorporates unique real-world startup, engineering, and design projects into existing curriculum in grades 1 – 8 (dig-1 through dig-8), engaging students with expert mentors and collaborators from universities (Northwestern University is a founding partner) and businesses. Dig-8, the capstone of SEE, is designed to teach young students about new product development and entrepreneurship in a relevant, engaging, and unique way.

Beyond Design has worked with Northwestern University student mentors in executing the program. The students came up with over 600 ideas, but in the end they were all narrowed down to one. The result: a successfully funded Kickstarter for a product designed by 44 8th graders. Amazing!

Teams created mock-ups to visualize and test their ideas, they also learned about CAD and how to make drawings so parts could be fabricated in production materials. Students conducted market research and segmentation, and calculated production estimates and pricing strategies.

The product is called “Elephant Hooks” and they’re hook hangers that resemble elephants and screw into the wall. It’s a simple idea with a rather profound backstory.

There are still 11 days in the campaign so backers can still donate to this program and possibly receive an Elephant Hook of their own. Funding above and beyond the goal will go toward bringing the program to more students in more schools.


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