Browsed by
Tag: Exercises

How to Improve Lesson Plans

How to Improve Lesson Plans

If you’d like to improve lesson plans . . .

Just ask your students how they feel.

The surprisingly simple details are below, but I can attest this process works (it’s the same one we use to improve the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum).

Step 1: Ask Your Students How They Feel

At the end of each lesson or exercise, simply ask your students how they felt about it.

From our experience, surveying students about their feelings provides more actionable feedback than a question like “On a scale from 1 to 5 how would you rate…?”.

Here are the specific questions we students ask after every ExEC exercise:

We get better results by asking emotionally-based questions because:

  1. It’s easier for students to check boxes indicating their feelings than it is for them to score an exercise on an arbitrary number scale.
  2. We care as much about the “why” behind their rating as we do about the rating itself. From our experience, students provide more in-depth answers to why they have a feeling than why they gave something a numeric rating.

Step 2: Analyze the Data

Once your data comes back, patterns will emerge.

For example, this data from Fall 2021 shows how ExEC students felt after completing their first exercise:

While the majority of students felt excited and confident about the assignment, 18% of them felt confused, which provided an opportunity for improvement.

After reading why those students felt confused, we hypothesized adding a video that showed students how to turn their assignments in might reduce their confusion.

Step 3: Implement Improvements

In our case we created a video demonstrating how to submit ExEC assignments on each of the major LMSs (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, D2L).

In your case, you’ll implement solutions informed by your students’ surveys. After that, you can simply ask your students for their feedback again so you can . . .

Step 4: Compare the Before Data 

In our case, the impact of the new video was immediate. By Spring of 2022 . . .

We saw student confusion cut in half, while excitement and confidence continued to rise.

The best part is, you can use these four steps to improve just about anything related to your course.

Just ask these two questions:

  1. How did you feel doing this?
  2. Why that feeling?

And you can improve the quality of a specific lesson, a homework assignment, or the course overall. 

And now it’s your turn:

How did you feel about this article?

If you’d like to feel confident you’re using a curriculum that is continuously improving, check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

We practice what we preach to ensure you and your students have the most engaging experiences possible.

Preview ExEC Now

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Teaching Entrepreneurship AI Summit

Register Now!

Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

Subscribe here to get lesson plans delivered in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!


Teaching Entrepreneurship AI Summit Summer 2023

Teaching Entrepreneurship AI Summit Summer 2023

The Teaching Entrepreneurship Summit is back with . . .

4 AI Workshops for Educators!

With new AI tools coming out every day, it’s hard to know which ones are useful for teaching.

In this special AI summit, you’ll:

  • Get up to speed on AI in education
  • Get several fun exercises to show your students the power of AI
  • Discover how to avoid AI plagiarism
  • Learn how AI can save you endless time (e.g. faster assessment)

Register Here

Learn Best Practices For Leveraging AI

The Teaching Entrepreneurship Summit will help you make the most of AI.

Register now so you don’t miss it!

Each session will run from 1:00 – 2:30 pm Eastern on their respective days but if you can’t join us live, recordings are available for purchase.

Tuesday, May 9th

AI Demystified: A Guide for Entrepreneurship Educators

Exercises to introduce your students (and yourself) to AI:

  • What are the best AI tools for entrepreneurship classes?
  • How can AI improve students’ business ideas?
  • How can AI make assessment faster?
  • How do you mitigate concerns about AI in the classroom?

Tuesday, May 16th

Using AI to Teach Customer Interviewing

The pandemic only exacerbated students’ customer interviewing anxiety.

In this session you’ll learn AI-powered exercises to help your students:

  • Find the right customers to interview
  • Learn the best questions to ask
  • Practice customer interviews with an AI “chat coach”

. . . all of which will build their interviewing confidence!

Tuesday, May 23rd

Teaching AI-Enabled Financial Modeling

Blow your students’ minds when you show them how easy it is to make robust financial models with the help of AI.

During this workshop you’ll get exercises to help your students:

  • Understand financial concepts
  • Develop accurate financial models
  • Learn how to validate those models in the real world

Tuesday, May 30th

AI Tools to Build Better MVPs 

Your students will be able to test demand for their products and services faster than ever with AI tools to help them:

  • Launch professional MVPs in minutes (no coding required)
  • Write amazing marketing copy
  • Generate powerful imagery for their MVPs, ads, and videos (no design experience required)

Register Here

Early Bird Tickets Available

We know budgets are tight right now so we’re offering a “Live Access Only” ticket free of charge.

Plus: Full Access tickets, which include recordings, slides, and a certificate of participation are $100 off before April 28th.

BONUS: We’re a team of experienced engineers, educators, and entrepreneurs with decades of combined experience. We know AI can be intimidating, so we’ve done the work sifting through what’s out there and what’s worth it.

Exclusive to Full Access ticket holders, join us for an “Ask Us Anything” session where we’ll help you tackle any challenge you have in your entrepreneurship class – AI-related or otherwise.

Register here so you don’t miss the AI Summer 2023 Summit!

Register Here

My ChatGPT Cofounder

My ChatGPT Cofounder

Last week we discussed the challenges of AI in academia. This week, we’re exploring the benefits of it, with a new lesson plan! In this exercise, your students will explore…
Who is a better cofounder: a human, or ChatGPT?
In this lesson you’ll simultaneously:
  1. Demonstrate some of the amazing capabilities of ChatGPT to your students
  2. You’ll also give them an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the business model validation process
This is a powerful exercise to wrap up your term, in particular as a final project or exam.
Watch the video below for a demo:

My ChatGPT Cofounder Demo

Get the “My ChatGPT Cofounder” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “My ChatGPT Cofounder” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.

Get the Lesson Plan


  It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.


Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

Subscribe here to get lesson plans delivered in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!


What is Your F Problem?

What is Your F Problem?

Students’ eyes glaze over when they read the syllabus.

How we can engage students and start teaching them entrepreneurship skills from the moment they walk into our classes?

Jay Markiewicz from Virginia Commonwealth University developed a novel way to start your semester that almost guarantees students will WANT to come back!

Step 1: Problem Definition and Customer Discovery

It’s the first day of class. We want to be anti-boring.

We want to put students in the middle of an engaging experience right away.

And even better, we want the engagement to be instructive.

By asking the question below, the moment is instantly relevant because students are experiencing it in real-time. Students begin by using Post-it notes to answer this question

What are the challenges and concerns students face on day one of a new course?

Students then text their friends that same question, write down their friends’ responses on post-it notes, and mark them as ‘friends said.’

Within minutes, students are practicing customer discovery!

In small teams of 3-4, students take a moment to meet each other and then collaborate by discussing with each other the challenges/concerns they wrote on their post-it notes. 

In this step, students start identifying problems, and progress into customer discovery, all within a matter of minutes!

Step 2: Data Analysis

In this step, teams use their post-it notes to group similar answers, ranking their top concerns/challenges.

Each team writes their top 2-3 answers on the board to start a list of all of the concerns/challenges students identified.

You can now engage the class in a discussion on the priority “problems” that students have on day one.

Here are some example answers you may see as the top priority”

  • “Getting to know each other. Avoiding day one awkwardness.”
  • “Getting interested in the course. Knowing what I’ll be learning throughout the course.”

In this step, students start analyzing customer discovery data – and you’re not even halfway through your first class!

Step 3: Solution Generation

Now we engage students even deeper, and have a little fun along the way!

They practiced problem definition, customer discovery, and data analysis. The next skill is generating solutions to the problem they just identified.

Ask students to write answers on the post-it notes to the following question:

If you were me, what solutions would you design for these problems?

Students don’t need to text friends this time. Instead, have them form NEW teams of 3-4 students and go through the same steps as above – meet each other, identify the most common solutions, then debrief with answers grouped on the board or wall.

Step 4: Reflection

The last step of this amazing kickoff experience, included in the lesson plan below, are to have students reflect and then to implement solutions.

This is where the lesson goes from good to great as you ask your student to analyze the process they’ve gone through on the first day of class, and the “ah-ha!” moments begin.

Click below to….

Get the Full “What is Your F Problem?” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “What is Your F Problem?” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.


It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.

All we ask is that you leave us some feedback on it in the comments below so we can improve it!

Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

Subscribe here to get lesson plans delivered in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!


Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit

Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit

Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit 2022

The Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit is back with . . .

2 New Workshops!

You and our community of entrepreneurship educators voted for your favorite workshops, and now they’re happening!

Register Here

Learn Best Practices

The Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit provides you with top-performing exercises and lets you experience these exercises like your students will. Plus, they’re…

Free when you join us live!

Both sessions will run from 1:00 – 2:30 pm Eastern on their respective days but if you can’t join us live, recordings are available for purchase.

Tuesday, December 13th

See It Taught Live: Financial Modeling Showdown

Winter Summit 2022: Financial Modeling Showdown

Watch Dr. Doan Winkel teach his students financial modeling live* using a fun, interactive game that you can use with your students too!

*We’ll live stream cameras from the classroom so you’ll literally see how the lesson is taught.

Tuesday, December 20th

Engagement From the First Day

Winter summit: Engagement From Day One

Use this lesson to get your students to think like entrepreneurs from the first day of class. 

In collaboration with Jay Markiewicz from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Register Here

Early Bird Tickets Available

We know budgets are tight right now so we’re offering a new “Live Access Only” ticket to the Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit free of charge.

Plus: Full Access tickets, which include recordings and slides, are $100 off before November 30th.

Winter Summit Benefits

Winter Summit map

At our last summit. . .

600+ educators joined us live!

Register here so you don’t miss the Winter Summit!

Register Here

How to Teach Revenue Models

How to Teach Revenue Models

How do you engage students while teaching a financial subject like revenue models? Try the . . .

Revenue Models Matching Card Game

Step 1: Match the Cards

Students start by matching revenue model definitions cards like…

To familiar companies that use those revenue models:

teaching revenue models

The cards actually teach students the revenue model definitions – no textbook required!

Step 2: Brainstorm

Next, students brainstorm ways they could use 9 different revenue models:

After exploring a wide range of revenue models they could potentially use, they’re ready to…

Step 3: Apply

Finally, students pick the revenue model(s) they think will be most profitable for their company…

…and now they’re ready to add them to their Business Model Canvas (and start validating them).

Try It!

This is a really fun way to teach revenue models that we’ve had a lot of success with.

Get the “Revenue Model Matching Game” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “Revenue Model Matching Game” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.


It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.

All we ask is that you leave us some feedback on it in the comments below so we can improve it!

Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

Subscribe here to get lesson plans delivered in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!


New Design Thinking: Backpack Design Challenge

New Design Thinking: Backpack Design Challenge

Tell students they are hired as a product designer. Their first job out of school is to design an ideal backpack. To help them do this, introduce the series of worksheets laid out in the Backpack Design Challenge lesson plan.

Step 1: The Most Exciting Purchase or Gift

The first worksheet asks students what is the most exciting thing they bought themselves, or were given as a gift recently.

It is really helpful with this exercise for you to share your perspective. At this step, share with them a concrete example of something that really excited you.

Make sure the thing they think of is something specific, and something they were really looking forward to. For example, a birthday present, or a holiday present, or something they’ve been wanting for months that they finally splurged on.

Design thinking backpack design challenge

Step 2: Feelings About the Purchase or Gift

Students record the feelings that came up as they made the purchase or received the gift. Give students time to reflect on the emotions they felt.

The point of these two steps is to build the foundation for the design thinking exercise to come.

Our goal is for them to learn a set of skills that helps them design products and services that get their customers as excited about the thing the student is creating as the student was about the purchase or gift. 

 Get The Lesson Plan Today!

Step 3: Must-have features

Now we will teach students to design a backpack that people get super excited about.

Ask students to describe their three “must have” features of their backpack.

A new approach to design thinking

Start by describing your three “must haves” and give them a few minutes to write down their three “must haves” that are unique to them.

Step 4: Draw the ideal backpack

The next step is for students to draw their ideal backpack. The point here is not beautiful artwork. The point is to visualize what the backpack with their must-have features looks lke.

Step 6: Ideal backpack reflection

Pair your students up for this step. Each student shares their drawings with their partner.

Each partner will ask lots of questions to dive deep into why their partner wanted certain features and anything else they are curious about.

design thinking reflection

Next, give students a few minutes to reflect on their partner’s backpack design. They describe what they saw and heard, how they felt about what they saw and heard, etc.

Components of the traditional design process

  • What should be built (start with product in mind)
  • How should it work / what should it look like? (functionality)
  • Do people love it?
  • Goal: build the best thing

Alternative approach: design thinking introduction

Explain to your students that what they just experienced is the traditional design process. Continue by sharing that this traditional way is not the best way to get customers excited about their product or service.

Ask them whether their partner offered to pre-order when saw other design. Was their partner so excited that they offered to give them real money? The answer will be no.

design process steps

Explain that in the traditional design process, someone

  • decides a product they should build
  • figures out the functionality of their product – what are the nuts and bolts
  • as a last step, they launch their product and work to figure out whether people love it

For your students to design something that gets people truly excited, they need to understand the design thinking process.

The design thinking process has five steps to create products people get really excited about:

  • Empathize
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Talk to your students about the difference between the traditional design process and the design thinking process. In the traditional design approach, they start with thinking about the product they’re going to build.

In the design thinking process, they start with no product in mind. Instead, they start by understanding the customer’s emotional needs. In other words, what motives them on emotional level? This is the empathizing stage

If the goal is to build something people love, empathizing should be the first step in the process not the third step.

Step 7: Design something useful

Now that they are inspired to design something people want, pair students up again. Students interview the partner they previously worked with for 4 minutes each.

It is important here to tell them to forget about the backpack. They are taking a design thinking approach, so they don’t know what the “right” thing to build is. They learn what their partner really loves and why, so they can design something these customers truly want.

design thinking first step

The goal of this interview is to find out what’s the hardest part about being a student, how they felt, when they felt that way, and why it’s a problem.

Step 8: Dig deeper

Students then conduct another 4-minute interview with their partner. The difference is, this time they

  • What feelings arise for their partner when they have the problem they described before
  • Have they done anything to try and solve that problem
  • What didn’t they like about that solution

 Get The Lesson Plan Today!

Steps 9-11: Define the problem

Students next will define the problem their partner mentioned. They will

  • Synthesize data obtained from partner interview
  • Answer 3 questions
    • What goals is their partner trying to achieve?
    • What did they learn about their partner’s motivation
    • What is the partner point of view: [partner name] needs a way to [verb] because [problem to solve]

design thinking: define the problem step

This step outlines for the student a structure for the process of designing a solution that excites their partner.

Step 12: Ideate solutions

We now understand the problem. The goal here is to draw 5 different designs for alternative solutions using the new information they gathered. These designs can be anything. They don’t have to be based in reality – encourage your students to use their imagination.

design thinking new exercise

Step 13: Solicit feedback

In same pairs as before, students share their new solutions with each other and provide feedback. They share with each other what do they like, what don’t they like, and why.

design thinking feedback

Students will then iterate with their partners to come up with a more ideal solution for the problem based on their partner’s feedback.

design thinking iteration

This work will likely have nothing to do with backpacks – it will relate to the biggest problems the students experience. It could be about time management, or the dining hall, or parking, or boring classes.

That’s OK – we are working to get them trying to solve real problems for their partner!

Step 14: Reflect on new design

Students now have a new design based on feedback from their partner. Now we want them to reflect on that new design.

In pairs, they will answer two questions about the design their partner developed to solve their problem:

  • What emotions come up with thinking about partner’s new design, and why?
  • More excited about partner’s original design or new design, and why? 

design thinking reflection

Step 15: Compare approaches

Now you will recap everything with your students as a class. Tell them they went through two approaches to design:

  • Traditional design approach – their first design
  • Design thinking approach – their second design

They now fill out a comparison worksheet for these two approaches. First each student writes down the two different designs their partner create for them. The questions they will answer about these two designs are:

  • Which design are they most excited about?
  • Which design is more feasible?
  • Which design solves their partners’ problem better?
  • Which design would they choose?

design thinking comparison

Ask the class as a whole which design method feels more valuable. Specifically, ask them to put up the numbers of fingers representing the number of Xs they have in the Design Thinking row.

You should see an overwhelming number of students put up at least 3 fingers for the design thinking approach.

Highlight for students that this is why we do design thinking:

It is so much more powerful for creating ideas that are exciting to customers and that they want to pay for because the product actually solves their real problems.

Then, summarize for your students that they just completed the full design thinking process:

  • They empathized – they worked to understand their customer’s problems
  • They defined the problem – they gathered all the information they learned from their customer & now understand the problem that customer experiences
  • They then ideated on solutions for that problem – they developed multiple potential solutions for the problem their customer was experiencing
  • They prototyped products to solve the problem – here they would develop something that a user could actually interact with
  • Last, they tested their prototype – they solicited feedback from their customer to learn what appealed to them and what did not

The design thinking process is iterative. Students went through it once during this exercise. After testing, they can start again by empathizing with their customer based on their new product.

This approach is powerful because it will help your students work on solving problems that real customers actually experience.

After this exercise is a great place to segway into your syllabus and the topics you will cover and experiences students will have. You can connect this experience to the rest of your course by highlighting they will now be able to:

  • Understand a wide range of customer needs
  • Defining the problem
  • Iterating on a solution to that problem
  • Designing prototypes of that solution
  • Testing how customers feel about that solution

Get the “Backpack Design Challenge” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “Backpack Design Challenge” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.


It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.

All we ask is that you leave us some feedback on it in the comments below so we can improve it!

Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

Subscribe here to get lesson plans delivered in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!


2022 Top Free Entrepreneurship Exercises

2022 Top Free Entrepreneurship Exercises

“Your posts help me keep my students engaged – they and I thank you!” – ExEC Professor

Based on the popularity of our 2019 Top 5 Lesson Plans and 2020 Top 5 Lesson Plans articles, here is the list of our 2021 top entrepreneurship exercises and lesson plans based on feedback from our fast-growing community of thousands of entrepreneurship instructors.

We designed the following exercises and lesson plans to transform your students’ experience as they learn how to stay motivated, prototype, and work with finances.

5. Teaching Business Model Canvas with Dr. Alex Osterwalder

Most entrepreneurship programs use the Business Model Canvas (BMC) in some way (it is a core element of the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum).

In collaboration with the BMC creator himself, Dr. Alex Osterwalder, we produced a series of lesson plans detailing how he teaches his powerful tool.

Learning the Business Model Canvas with Dr. Alex Osterwalder

With this 3-part series, you can . . .

  • Part 1: Introduce the Business Model Canvas
  • Part 2: Teach students how to write business model hypotheses
  • Part 3: Demonstrate how to prioritize their riskiest assumptions

View Directions to Teach the Business Model Canvas the Way Dr. Osterwalder Does

4. Financial Modeling Showdown

Financial modeling is incredibly difficult to teach in an engaging way.

That’s why, in addition to our more advanced Financial Projection Simulator, we developed a new game that makes introducing financial modeling fun and interactive.

Financial modeling simulation

If your students get overwhelmed by financial modeling, this game will help them learn the core concepts in an accessible way.

View The Financial Modeling Showdown Exercise

3. 60 Minute MVP

Imagine your students, in just one hour, building, and launching, an MVP . . . with no technical expertise! In our 60 Minute MVP exercise, we present an exercise during which students build a landing page MVP that:

  1. Tells their customers the problem their team is solving,
  2. Uses a video to demonstrate how the team will solve the problem and
  3. Asks for some form of “currency” from their customers to validate demand.

Immersion pressure challenge chaos motivation 60 minute MVP

If you’re looking for an immersive exercise that activates your class, complete with a chaotic, noisy, high-pressure environment, that teaches real entrepreneurial principles, give “60 Minute MVP” a shot.

View the 60 Minute MVP Exercise

2. Design Thinking with the Ideal Wallet

The Ideal Wallet is an awesome exercise for teaching students to use empathy, prototyping, and iteration to design creative solutions to problems. This exercise that comes from Stanford University’s is a fast-paced way to introduce your students to design thinking.

Design Thinking 101: Design the Ideal Wallet

During this intense exercise, students will learn:

  • That what is important for them to discover is what is important to their customer
  • To design solutions specifically related to their customers’ emotional needs
  • To prototype their design with simple household materials and
  • To gather customer feedback on prototypes

As a result, students will know how to develop powerful solutions for customers because they can empathize with the person or people for whom they are designing solutions.

Available in both an In-Person Version and an Online Version.

View the Design Thinking with the Ideal Wallet Exercise

1. Motivate Students with Pilot Your Purpose

Students engage when entrepreneurship feels relevant.

This exercise makes entrepreneurship relevant by helping students discover that entrepreneurial skills will help them pursue their passions – regardless of whether they become entrepreneurs.

Pilot your Purpose

This is our favorite exercise because when we help students discover their passions, it becomes clear to them that entrepreneurial skills will help them turn a passion into their life’s purpose.

Suddenly, entrepreneurship becomes relevant and engagement increases

In fact, our students like this exercise so much, we’re making it the first lesson plan in the next iteration of our full Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

View the Pilot Your Purpose Exercise

Want 15 Weeks of Lesson Plans?

If you are looking for a fully structured, experiential entrepreneurship curriculum, with a semester’s worth of lesson plans that students love, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

We’ve done the work for you.

What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share lesson plans for new exercises we shared at our Winter Summit!

Subscribe here to be the first to access these new exercises.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!

1 Week Left to Adopt ExEC for Spring

1 Week Left to Adopt ExEC for Spring

Spring is just around the corner!

Adopt ExEC today and let us set you up for success by delivering detailed lesson plans and a simplified grading process, and enabling you to deliver award-winning experiential exercises that transform your classroom into a hive of activity from day one.

Engage Your Students This Spring

We’ve been busy updating our curriculum to adapt to your learning environment:

Sample ExEC Syllabus

We’ve got you covered whether you’ll be in-person, online synchronous or asynchronous, or some hybrid model.

ExEC is an engaging and structured curriculum that’s flexible enough for your Fall. To fully engage your students this Spring, request a full preview of ExEC today!

Preview ExEC Now

Teach The Business Model Canvas with ExEC

Teach The Business Model Canvas with ExEC

On Aug. 3rd Dr. Alex Osterwalder will join our community to teach us how we can use the Business Model Canvas (BMC) in our classrooms!

Access Entrepreneurship Teaching Tools Data

This free session will start with Dr. Osterwalder walking you through a number of Business Model Canvas exercises of varying difficulty and engagement. Then he’ll introduce exercises to teach the mechanics of experimentation.

Alex Osterwalder Teaching Business Model Canvas Workshop August 3rd

**NOTE: We will record the session for anyone who cannot make it, so please register even if you can’t attend so you will have access to the recording**

For more on Dr. Osterwalder, check out his company Strategyzer and his suite of books being used in entrepreneurship classrooms around the world.