Shark Tank

by Amanda Borelli

The 8th grade students in my Reading and Writing class were tasked with the challenge of coming up with their own Shark Tank-style invention that would solve a problem in society. Students watched clips from some of the most popular products that were presented on Shark Tank to provide them with some ideas of what worked best. They then brainstormed their own inventions using a list of potential “problems” that they could work on solving, such as carrying wet umbrella or ice cream melting on your hands. 

After brainstorming, students explored persuasive writing techniques, including emotive language, real-life examples, and statistics, that they would use while writing an essay about their invention. The students outlined and wrote a four-paragraph essay using a multiple-paragraph outline that included a physical description of the product using descriptive adjectives, cost, target audience, and benefits.

Using the essay, students turned their writing into a presentation to convince the “Sharks” to invest in their product. After many weeks of designing, writing, and practicing their public speaking skills, students presented their invention in front of their peers, as well as a panel of teacher “Sharks.”

Some of the inventions that stood out to the “Sharks” were The Walky Ring, which was an alarm clock that dispenses objects to make your room a mess to encourage you to wake up and turn it off, the Lightning Hearing Aid, which is a hearing aid that allows users to hear from further away, as well as make phone calls, and the Safety Suit, which “solves the additional risk of lung cancer for firefighters that comes with inhaling the smoke from fires and decreases the injury and death rate of police officers and soldiers while increasing productivity in challenging rescues.” As an extension to the writing portion of the project, students worked with Ms.Young to create a 3D printed prototype of their invention, which they designed on Tinkercad.