FXW’s Very Own Shark Tank

During the past few weeks, 8 th graders have become budding entrepreneurs in STEM class. Modeled after the popular television show, Shark Tank, they have been creating products to help solve everyday problems. Tasked with creating a new business idea/concept to pitch to the “Shark” judges, students have been collaborating in groups to develop their business plans, research the market/competition, writ e advertising plans, creat e production distribution plans and develop profit margin analyses.

“While this may seem like a lot to take on, students really enjoy project – based learning,” shared 8 th grade science teacher, Meagan Dimit. ” This was not a project that happened after the learning took place, rather the entire project was the learning. Students explored 3 – dimensional design using TinkerCAD; discovered the complexities of financial literacy; and , realized the basic market research necessary to promote a p roduct all while working as a team.”

After testing their products in class, students made changes to improve their design and created a wide – range of products, such as:

• The Grocery Grabber – a special bag holder to prevent strain on hands when carrying multiple bags

• The Perfect Paste – a creative “cap” for toothpaste to prevent teeth staining and to avoid toothpaste “waste”

• CJSN Speakers – a better way to amplify iPhone music, no batteries required

• The Heat Belt – to stay warm without the need for a swe ater or coat

• Earbuddies – to prevent ear buds from getting tangled

Several students shared what they liked best about this project:

• “…that our group worked really well together.”

• “…the process of coming up with our idea.”

• “…doing the math to come up with cost analysis and profit margins.”

• “…using the TinkerCD to fix our prototype.”

• “…using the 3 – D printer.”

“The students present their product in the Shark Tank format and try to encourage the “Sharks” to invest. Our 8 th graders worked tremendously hard on this project in cooperative groups,” added Jackie Miller, Director of Curriculum and Instruction. “Our focus on the four 21 st century skills of learning and innovation: creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration have been emphasized the entire assessment period.”