Student Entrepreneurs Swim With the Sharks

In room 108, teams of aspiring entrepreneurs took a chance to get their products into the mainstream. Civics classes replicated the famous show Shark Tank as a unit of study second semester.  In teams of 3-4, students created a product which they then presented to a panel of judges. 

“While working on the project, students learned about collaboration, research, [and] critical thinking, as well as some mathematical principles and supply and demand,” explained civics teacher Megan Huftalon.  

Students can use these principles later in life, and will be especially useful to those thinking of starting their own company. After all, they did just that.  

For instance, Jacquelyn A., Keman, R, and Parisa K. started a company called Timeless.  Their product was an alarm clock for the kind of person that will hit the snooze button 14 times before getting out of bed.

“It helps you get up on time without feeling tired or having the need to go back to bed,” said Kamen. 

One unique aspect of the Timeless alarm clock is a sensor that goes underneath your mattress and will ring if you try to get back in bed.

Students were graded on their research skills,  specifically finding and understanding what goes into product creation. They were also graded on creativity, specifically in regard to finding a need and a market for their product.  Students’ presentations, however, were the bulk of the grade.

“Was it a clean presentation? Were they presenting with eye contact and tone to the sharks?  And their ability to be on their feet when answering questions,” said Huftalen.

Shark Tank is all about presenting your product. Students had to create clean and realistic presentations while maintaining eye contact and using an affirmative tone. They also had to be able to answer questions from the audience as well as the sharks on the spot.

While there were no prizes or rewards for the highest-rated groups this year, next year, the Civic’s teachers hope to make the event more schoolwide, which may involve bringing the best groups to a more in-depth Shark Tank, and of course, a grand prize.

This mock Shark Tank experience teaches students many lessons, from business to all of life. Coming out of this experience, students will be better prepared for adulthood and be able to make better decisions under a budget as well as under pressure.