Lesson Plan Guide: Aspiring Entrepreneurship

By Matt Andrews



  • 3-3: Students take practical steps to transition to post-high school options.


  • Read an article about young entrepreneurs.
  • Dictate and interpret advice from Steve Jobs.
  • Brainstorm ideas to start a business.


  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.


  • PS:A2.2 Respect alternative points of view
  • PS:A2.6 Use effective communications skills


No prior knowledge necessary


  • “High School and College Entrepreneurs” article from Student Paths
  • Paper and pencils/pens
  • Whiteboard or large paper for brainstorming

Students first read an article from Student Paths. Second, they dictate and interpret quotes from Steve Jobs. Finally, they brainstorm ideas to start a business.


There is no formal assessment for this lesson. Instructors may note which students participate more in the interpretation of quotes and generation of ideas in the brainstorming.


Read Student Paths article (5 minutes)
Instruct students to silently read “High School and College Entrepreneurs.” Allow students a few minutes, and then ask: What is an entrepreneur? The groups should come to a common understanding that entrepreneurs create new products and processes in the world. Students may be familiar with famous examples of Bill Gates,

Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Remind students that small, local businesses, such as a restaurant or construction company were also started by entrepreneur

Introduce inspiring quotes for entrepreneurs (15-30 minutes)
This activity and discussion uses quotes from Steve Jobs to spark inspiration for students to find courses of interest, to trust what they do, to find love, and to stay hungry in life. The four quotes are from his Stanford University commencement speech in 2005. Instructors should modify this section to best fit the time constraints. Using the quotes without video will save time, or the lesson could be delivered over two class periods.

For ideal inspiration, instructors should first dictate the four quotes below to students and then watch the 15-minute video of the speech. Dictation is a skill many students lack, but is a way for students to pay particular attention to the exact words a person says, and this allows deeper contemplation of the meaning of the words. Once the students have the quotes, the video provides context, examples, and extended meaning to the advice from Steve Jobs.

A video of the speech and the full text can be found at http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

Dictate these four quotes:

  1. “The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.”
  2. “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
  3. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. Don’t settle.”
  4. On the back page of the last issue of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalogue was a photograph of an early morning country road; beneath it were the words, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

After students have dictated the four quotes, assign them to groups of three. Students discuss these quotes within their groups, but each student should write his or her own answers for this activity.

  1. The task is to determine the value and risk of each piece of advice. First, students must interpret a fuller meaning of the advice Steve Jobs gives. Then students must determine why this may be good advice and also how this advice could lead to potential problems. Instruct students to discuss and write three things about each quote: Use your own words to rewrite each piece of advice and give an example from your own life.
  2. Explain why this could be good advice. Explain how this advice could create potential problems, conflict, and greater risk in life.
  3. After the triads have discussed each quote and students have completed their own answers, discuss these interpretations as a class. The point of the discussion is to better understand some of the internal conflicts present in entrepreneurship and innovation, and to inspire students to find their passion and to persist in difficult tasks.

Brainstorming as aspiring entrepreneurs (15-30 minutes):
This activity is to provide students a taste of how to think like an entrepreneur. This brainstorming activity should be light and fun for students. Encourage both wild ideas and more practical ones that students could actually do. Brainstorming is more effective when the group is able to suspend judgment and allow creativity to motivate more creativity.

The task is to brainstorm business ideas. Explain the task to students by reading the following aloud. Creativity and innovation are buzzwords, but too often we continue in routine and dogma instead of developing better ways of doing things in life. Brainstorming allows us to list lots of ideas, and to build momentum in order to identify real solutions to real problems and needs. In brainstorming, we want to suggest both practical ideas that are likely to work as well as wild, game-changing ideas that would change the way we do things. Steve Jobs was a very successful entrepreneur because he found ideas that were both game-changing and practical.

An entrepreneur could frame this brainstorming with two questions:

  • What are problems in society and possible solutions?
  • What are market demands and possible products to meet this need?

As a class, let us brainstorm and list everything mentioned on the board. At this stage, every idea is a good idea. Instead of saying, “No, that will not work,” we say, “Yes, and we could …” This technique is an effective way to build momentum and encourage more creative ideas.

Allow 10 minutes to brainstorm ideas, and conclude this activity by explaining that brainstorming can be fun and energizing, but a real entrepreneur must determine the ideas with the most potential and begin working on them.

High school and college entrepreneurs


About the Author

Matt Andrews