The four "Shark Tank" finalist groups fearlessly presented their innovative projects in front of their peers, staff and the "Sharks," which included Superintendent Dr. Robbins and Principal Stephanie Miller. This year's McCordsville Elementary School (MES) "Shark Tank" finalists featured an all-in-one "Fuzzy Bunny" pillow and stuffed animal, a "Stow Bow" for girls wanting to carry small items without a purse, "LolliPups" edible treats for dogs, and "Animal Kits" which were full of supplies needed for new pets.
The hands-on economic and entrepreneurship project, named after the television show it mimics, "Shark Tank", is for all MES fourth grade students. There are 63 state standards covered throughout the hands on project. Lessons in science, social studies (history of Indiana business), reading, language, math (real-world problems) and persuasive writing are a few of the featured standards. Students are likely unaware of all the learning factors and personal growth they achieved while completing this project. "Shark Tank" is a prime example of project based learning: a teaching method where students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time on a complex problem or challenge.
Through their "Shark Tank" project, students have to demonstrate the skills of developing a business as an entrepreneur by using the scientific method, persuasive writing, and presentation skills. The student groups are required to follow the timeline and Shark Tank pitch guidelines, prepare a business plan, utilize vocabulary words and understand the grading rubrics. The students also spent a great deal of time researching the cost of materials and competitors.
Since Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) is a 1:1 technology environment (one computer device for each student), all students were also required to create an iMovie promotional video on their iPads as part of their presentation.
The business plan is one of the most important aspects of the project, as students are engaged in developing the concept, the cost, and finalizing their target audience. They then turn their concept into a persuasive argument sharing why their product is needed. This process helps develop their pitch. One of the aspects the students enjoy most is having to make a prototype of their product.
The four fourth grade teachers selected the top three groups in their classroom to present to the teachers, or "sharks," who then selected one product per classroom. The winning class product receives choices of different incentives, including free homework passes, class money, a Spring Fling ticket (courtesy of MES PTO), or the option of getting to choose their Famous Hoosier during the Living Wax Museum experience.
The fourth grade teachers, Dr. Robbins and Principal Miller enjoyed transforming into "sharks" and their characters. A video was produced introducing the sharks, similar to the opening of the broadcasted “Shark Tank” show. This introductory video and the final presentation to the "sharks" can be seen below. Congrats to all the very inventive ideas!