The five "Shark Tank" finalists fearlessly presented their innovative projects in front of their peers, "Sharks", staff and Superintendent Dr. Robbins. This year's McCordsville Elementary School (MES) "Shark Tank" finalists included: Glowin' Tee's, My Bear (handmade bear/doll), ENT Turbine (wind charger), Spinner Dinner (game enticing children to eat their dinner) and Doodle Caboodle (a fanny pack designed to help with dog walks). Thanks to BMO Bank and "Shark" Jeff Hartley, all project designers received a $25 gift card, along with the school receiving a $500 gift card to further next year's "Shark Tank" program.
A former MES teacher designed the economy and entrepreneurship project for fourth grade with 63 state standards covered in this one group project. Lessons in science, social studies (history of Indiana business), reading, language, math (real world problems) and persuasive writing are all featured standards. Students are likely unaware of all the learning factors and personal growth they achieved in 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.
Students have to demonstrate the skills of developing a business as an entrepreneur 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 lot 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 required to create an iMovie promotion video on their iPads as part of their presentation.
The business plan is one of the most important aspects, as students are engaged in developing the concept, cost and finalize their target audience. They then turn their concept into a persuasive argument sharing why their product is needed and make a prototype.
Teachers select the top three groups in their classroom to present. This is followed by a group presentation with all five fourth grade teachers as the “sharks” who select one product per classroom. The class winner 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 our Living Wax Museum experience.
The fourth grade teachers enjoyed transforming into sharks and their characters. They produced a video introducing the sharks, similar to the opening of the broadcasted “Shark Tank” show. Congrats to all the very inventive ideas!