3-D printing and design software help eighth-graders launch chocolate companies from their classroom.
Chocolate may belong in a candy shop, but at Harper Junior High School, students are making it into a business.
In an Exploring Tech class at the Davis, California school, students created unique chocolate bar designs and marketed their chocolate to students from the P.E. department.
"One of the things that I really wanted to introduce them to was this whole notion of entrepreneurship - what it takes to really bring something to market," said Brian Donnelly, STEM Program Director at Harper Junior High School.
Their challenge was to make a chocolate bar with calories that could be burned off in 30 minutes of vigorous exercise. With the help of software including CorelDRAW and Inventor, they created concepts for chocolate, designed chocolate molds and printed them with a 3-D printer. Then they filled them with chocolate and designed packaging for the bars.
"We also had to put this thing out like a real business," said Pavan Sah, an eighth-grader who works for the chocolate company Anima. "So we had to decide, 'How are we going to sell this? How are we going to put it out into market?' And do a fake market."
On market day, students gave their best sales pitches and showed off their chocolate to P.E. students. They also played promotional videos, pointed prospective buyers to their websites and proudly wore company t-shirts.
This chocolate project gave students the confidence to run with an idea and make it happen.
"I got together with my friends in the company and I just shared the idea, and I was like, 'Hey, why don't we make a chocolate that athletes could eat and use the energy for it?' said Alex Battistoni, an eighth-grader who represents Adrenaline Sports Bars. "So if you have an idea like that, you should keep on it and keep trying because you could definitely get bigger."