The “Shark Tank” Project

One of the final projects of the semester for the eighth graders includes a presentation for English class. This presentation is based on the show called “Shark Tank.” Students are required to, either in pairs or individually, do a presentation as entrepreneurs of an invention in front of the class and about 2-3 teachers. These teachers play the part of the “Sharks” and decide whether or not to invest in their company.

To help the upcoming eighth graders next year, I have challenged myself to research about the experiences and expectations on the “Shark Tank” project. I have done this by interviewing some presenters and some “Sharks” that were played by teachers in the school.

One of our eighth graders, Brandon Juarez, really enjoyed this project and had a fun experience with it.

He said, “My experience with the Shark Tank project was okay. It was okay because it wasn’t hard or easy, but it was fun creating my invention and overall acting it out with my partner to present to the sharks. I invented a smart remote controller that could connect to any TV. The sharks reacted by rejecting my offer and offering me a deal, which I took. I felt good about how I did in my presentation and the offer they gave us.”  This shows how you can have fun with something that is considered work by enjoying the overall experience and just learning to be creative with a project like the “Shark Tank” project.

Brandon Juarez and his partner Sofia Garcia presenting their invention in class. (Jessi Salas)

Jesus Carvente also had a similar experience with the shark tank project and presentation process.

He said, “My experience with the Shark Tank project was alright. Although I didn’t talk, it still felt nerve-racking because my classmates were staring a little too hard. My invention was an x-ray machine, and my partner got no offer because we had to go already for our field trip. It did not go as expected because Mr. Finer didn’t ask questions and didn’t make an offer. I also thought there would be more sharks, but there weren’t.” 

Some students had a hard time presenting to the large audience, and that is okay because, at the end of the day, it is really just about the experience and having fun while doing it. It is okay to stress, but do not worry about how you look or sound because you are not there to be judged; you are there to present what you have come up with.

The audience talking about the invention they just saw being presented in class. (Jessi Salas)

Angelina Brede, one of the teachers at AJMS, played the part of one of the sharks during the presentations.

Ms. Brede says, “My experience being a shark was really fun. I got to ask a lot of questions and put my students on the spot in a fun way. It was cool to pretend I was a billionaire for a little bit. I thought, for the most part, that the presentations were really strong. I got to see some students come out of their shell and show their creative side, and we are already planning improvements for next year—like making each invention unique instead of historical. I think that way we can see more creativity and maybe even some more useful inventions. My favorite part was when I got outbid by Shark Elsi Mendez for a multi-million dollar deal, where a student’s solar-powered train ended up getting bought for $2.5 million.”  

This can encourage other teachers to participate in this project by becoming a “Shark” for next year because it shows the great experience Ms. Brede had with her students in a learning environment that really brought their true selves out to show their creativity.

This is the “Sharks” thinking about the deal they were just offered. (Jessi Salas)

Jose Garcia had a fun experience as well with his presentation.

He said, “The Shark Tank project did not go as expected because I thought that we were going to get an offer, but we didn’t, and instead my partner and I left bummed out with no offers. Even though that happened, I still had a lot of fun with the “Shark Tank” project. I honestly expected that my partner and I were going to get an offer, but that’s okay because I still had a great time with my partner. Overall, my experience was good because I had fun while presenting and coming up with the invention.” Although it did not go as he and his partner wanted it to, they still had a fun time with it.