Students in Mrs. Jody Hruby’s seventh grade English language arts classes plunged headfirst into the Shark Tank Tuesday, pitching original innovations and inventions to a panel of faculty “sharks,” à la ABC’s popular business reality television series, “Shark Tank.”
Students worked in groups of two to four to come up with an invention or innovation that could solve a problem, explained Hruby. Once students agreed on an idea, they drew it, wrote an advertising slogan for the product using poetic elements, designed a company logo using color symbolism and then created a slideshow presentation to pitch to potential investors.
“The slideshow presentation included a prepared speech, labeled diagram of the product and sample print advertisement,” said Hruby, “Some of the more impressive ideas included student desks with built-in charging stations for Chromebooks, a combination trailer/camper and a backpack that turns into an inflatable life raft.”
After listening to pitches, sharks would ask groups questions, challenging students to think on their feet to come up with satisfactory answers.
“I saw kids who are usually afraid of public speaking truly rise to the occasion by working together to convince the sharks to invest in their ideas,” said Hruby.
Groups who convinced the sharks to invest in their company were rewarded with “Shark Bucks,” which they redeemed the following day for pencils, highlighters, bookmarks, candy and the like.
The idea behind the project, said Hruby, was to illustrate to students that ELA has application beyond the classroom.
“We don't often think of poetry as something with a practical purpose in ‘the real world,’ as students like to call it. The truth is that advertisers use sound devices, figurative language and color symbolism to persuade us to buy things every day. Being good at poetry can help to prepare you for the business world,” said Hruby. “Turning these lessons into a larger group project carried the added benefits of encouraging collaboration, practicing persuasive writing and public speaking skills and dabbling in graphic design by requiring presentation slides complete with a company logo and product advertisement.”
Students in Mrs. Jody Hruby's seventh grade English language arts class pitch The Food Saver to a panel of faculty sharks.
Students in Mrs. Jody Hruby's seventh grade English language arts class pitch The Smart Desk to a panel of faculty sharks.
Students in Mrs. Jody Hruby's seventh grade English language arts class pitch The Low Light to a panel of faculty sharks.