District News

Shark Tank: Building entrepreneurs

Posted on: April 5, 2019
photo of students with inventions

Ever thought to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?" Or better yet: "I could do this so much better."

The inventor's mindset is behind the popular television show "Shark Tank," and is also behind a similar version of the show that took place at Little Miami Intermediate School.

All year long, fifth graders in Stephanie Grieshop and Kathryn Holcomb's science and technology classes have been working on an entrepreneurial project that taught about economics in a real-world way. Students were asked them to come up with a product idea and pitch the idea to a panel of judges. Then if the idea made the cut and the judges agreed to "fund" their idea, students then had to make the product and sell it to customers. Students quickly learned there was more to this project than meets the eye, Grieshop said.

"Many did not realize how much it cost to make products," she said. "We did talk about having to factor in wages of workers, rent and advertising. We did not have the kids figure that in, but it was an eye-opening experience."

Teams of students made their pitches to judges (Grieshop, Holcomb and LMIS Counselor Dawn Gasper) back in January. Ideas ranged from animal animators and airplane launchers to rock candy kits and the ever-popular slime. Students had to have clear marketing plan and know their per-unit cost.

And by March 28, students had to make the product they chose and have inventory for a school-wide marketplace. Proceeds from the sale of products -- more than $317 -- were donated to the Panther Backpack program.

"The biggest 'ah ha' moment for some students was seeing their product actually after all of their hard work," Holcomb said. "They were shocked, amazed, thrilled... and proud of what they had accomplished."