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Pembroke Students Learn How to Pitch Products in a “Shark Tank” Format

For several years, ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” has inspired entrepreneurs all over the country to pitch their business ideas to a panel of “sharks” in the hope of getting a deal.  Fifth-grader teachers in Pembroke decided to take the format and apply it to the yearly invention conventions.  Students have begun to look forward to this project as a rite of passage.

Turning this popular reality TV show into a reality for these students has inspired them to get creative and helped them develop research and presentation skills.

The “Shark Tank” project is an example of the type of innovative lesson planning that brings learning to life for kids. Students began the Shark Tank project by assuming the role of an entrepreneur tasked with devising a proprietary, practical invention that could be a product or service. They work to develop a business plan for their invention and a prototype for their product. Along the way, they develop important critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration skills.

All presentations should ideally address the following elements:

  • Idea: Identify a problem area and develop a solution
  • Implementation: How can this idea be developed including an actual prototype
  • Cost: What is the cost to develop and what will the product sell for (profit margin)
  • Investment: How much are they looking for as an investment and what percentage of their business will the investor receive
  • Marketing Campaign: This includes a brand name, logo, and advertising strategy

Students then present their ideas in front of their peers as well as the panel of “Sharks” as part of their final project. Presentations include anticipated production costs, profit margins, and marketing campaigns. The teachers and staff acting as “Sharks” provide feedback and decide how much to invest in the student’s products.

The students have fully embraced the “Shark Tank” format in their presentations while negotiating with the panel of “Sharks” in the hopes of getting an investor for their business.  Many of the students agree that the “Shark Tank” theme was a fun twist on a typical class presentation.

Marketing classes in just about every business college teach students how to pitch products, this is taking the same concept and applying it to the elementary level.   The students are developing solutions to problems in their own lives.  Most of the students are also using various forms of technology to bring their projects to life.  Students have designed logos in photoshop, used Google Slides to create presentations, and used green screens to film themselves in the “Shark Tank” studios.

The Shark Tank project is a way that Pembroke teachers are engaging their students, encouraging them to take ownership of their learning, think creatively and work together to solve problems. The skills developed as part of this lesson are important not only in the school setting but will also help them to be successful in the workplace and in life.