SIFE takes “Build a Rock” program to classrooms

February 2nd, 2009

The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization at Indiana University East have developed a “Build-A-Rock” program on entrepreneurship and established a curriculum for high school educators. SIFE has taken the program into classrooms locally and nationwide, teaching young students about entrepreneurship. The organization plans to further the program by taking it internationally to classrooms around the globe.

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The “Build-A-Rock” program was initially developed by business administration major Devon Milholland while he was a student at Blackford High School in Hartford City, Ind. He and Tim Scales, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, have turned the project into a learning experience for area high school teachers to learn about and teach entrepreneurship and economics. The program has drawn over 150 teachers from Wayne, Union and Randolph counties and from Shelbyville, Ind. The program is funded through a grant by the National Council for Economic Education in New York.

“I have had a great experience through the Build-A-Rock workshop, it was exciting to be on the other end of the learning process by guiding teachers to help their students,” Milholland said.

SIFE developed a curriculum for the teachers to use in their classrooms. At the end of the workshop, the participants then take a rock of their choosing and turn it into a piece of art.

Scales said by converting the rock into art the teachers are learning to make a product.

“This is a natural resource that is taken and made for profit,” Scales said. “They are learning to take a material and to make a product. That’s the basis of marketing and economics.”

SIFE traveled to New Mexico, Tucson, Phoenix, Lake Havasu in Arizona, and Las Vegas to teach primary school students. This December, SIFE recently returned from a cross-country trip in which IU East students helped to educate nearly 300 students ages 5 to 18 years old.

The organization is planning a trip to Bagalour, India with Richmond High School teachers to instruct young students there with the program. The group will teach the 67 enrolled 10th grade students at the Chrystal House Academy using the curriculum.

The curriculum will then serve as the pilot project and then used in classrooms in Mexico City, Mexico in May and Cape Town, South Africa in 2010.

Scales said he is excited to have the opportunity to head international programs in entrepreneurship. He said he feels this is a great way to teach students from IU East while assisting in educating students around the world.                                               

“Build-A-Rock will give me the opportunity to teach students the reality of international business, students get to learn about other cultures, explore international markets and build respect for others.  I am very excited to serve as a leader in the education of world economics and entrepreneurship,” Scales said.

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