Shark Tank 2018
“School is boring.” There is no place for that type of statement when teachers are resourceful, engaging and promote authentic learning. But how do teachers make their classrooms the opposite of boring? By using teaching techniques that get students to think creatively, and collaborate with their peers to solve real-world problems.
Teachers at Hobomock Elementary School rose to the challenge of making learning engaging for their students and implemented the “Shark Tank Challenge” project, something that the 5th graders now look forward to as a rite of passage. Shark Tank is an example of just 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.
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 Shark Tank project is a great way that Hobomock 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.
Inventions in this year’s “Shark Tank” had the judges competing to invest in a variety of creative ideas. There was the “Unsoggy Doggy” which was a wearable umbrella for dogs. The small umbrella was built into a dog harness and allowed the dogs to stay dry while going to the bathroom outdoors on a rainy day. Another student invented the “Wave Crew” which is a high-end rash guard with a built-in flotation device to help beginner water skiers and wakeboarders remain nimble while learning the sport. The “Wonderful Woodsman Watch” is a flexible armband with built-in solar powered navigation, a compass and hidden compartment for tool storage such as matches, a light, and a pocket knife. The “Magic Feeder” was designed with farmers in mind to help them ease the burden of feeding baby animals who lost their mother with a time-sensor bottle feeding system. Another student designed the “Hear Muffs” for athletes like herself who needed to stay warm while training but also to listen to music. The “Hear Muff” is a blue-tooth speaker built into ear muffs that connect with cell phones so that the user can listen to music, stay warm and keep their phones in their pocket. These are just a few of the many inventions that the fifth graders brought to life with powerpoint presentations, advertising posters and prototype mock-ups. All of the students did an amazing job and definitely showcased their entrepreneurial spirit.