Students now have a chance to learn the fundamentals and gain experience with new elective courses offered this semester: Econ 3D, Entrepreneurship 101, and Engineering Workshop.

New faculty member Thomas Skousen is teaching the economics and entrepreneurship courses, and physics teacher Val Monticue is instructing the Engineering Workshop class.

Econ 3D teaches students the basic concepts and essential knowledge of economics. Through guest speakers and lessons led by Skousen, entrepreneurship will prepare students for an end of the semester “Pinewood Shark Tank” project. The Engineering Workshop allows students to independently design and build projects and develop proficiency with tools through hands-on experience.

Not all of these courses are completely new to the Pinewood community. An economics course actually used to be standard at Pinewood, but faded out of the main curriculum around three years ago.

“It used to be that a long time ago everybody had to take economics. Over the years we added other electives and there wasn’t always room to get kids to take economics. We really wanted to have economics back, because there have been a lot of kids who’ve wanted to take it,” Dean of Studies Laurie Wilson said.

Skousen approached the Pinewood administration to teach the course, and he suggested the entrepreneurship course himself.

Principal Mark Gardner and the administration were pleased with the return of economics and the addition of the new course.

Though the new semester is still young, the teachers have already begun creating long-term plans and discovering concepts they would like their students to take away from the class.

“For the entrepreneurship class, my goals are for them to feel like it’s real. We have a “Shark Tank” like the show and we build up to that.

This week we had a couple projects where they’re looking at design thinking and problem-solving methods and applying it to some problems here at the school, and it took fire.

I’m excited to see where it goes,” Skousen said.

Monticue has been hard at work developing the new engineering workshop and has found an engineering idea to share.

“[I want to teach] the iterative process of ‘the first time you do something is not going to be the best possible way that it happens.’ You’re going to have an idea and try to implement the idea, and something’s going to go wrong. You’re either going to have to learn a new skill or you’re going to have to do some sort of investigation to figure out what is a better solution, or you’re going to have to try different solutions. So it’s all about not giving up after the first failure, continuing to improve an idea as you work on it,” Monticue said.

Junior Maddi Escher, who is currently enrolled in the entrepreneurship class, is enjoying the new classes and already has created goals for what she hopes to learn.

“I hope to learn the basic tips and tricks on how to be successful and how to be your own boss. I think it’s really hard to understand the business side of starting your own business and this class could definitely help out with that,” Escher said.