Highlands Elementary STEAM Challenge – Shark Tank Style

Highlands Elementary STEAM Challenge – Shark Tank Style
Shawnee Mission School District

Prior to Continuous Learning, fifth and sixth grade science students at Highlands Elementary took on an invention and innovation challenge. 

To begin their work, students were introduced to the inspirational engineering documentary “Dream Big.” Then, pairs of students were then given time each week to consider a design problem they would like to fix (innovation), or create a solution to a problem through creating a new product, application or other service (invention).  This required research to find existing solutions to a problem, and then determine an improvement or new product.

Prior to presenting their product pitch, in a style modeled after the television show “Shark Tank,” students investigated how to market their product by creating an original logo and slogan and determined their target audience.  Digital and physical 3-D prototypes were designed and created, along with a written pitch for presentation. 

Peggy Lawler, fifth-grade teacher shared, “Students also learned innovation and invention takes many, usually unsuccessful, attempts before finding something that works.” Lawler continues, “Sometimes a very simple idea can be a huge successful and good design and does not have to be complicated.”

To wrap up their Shark Tank-style science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Challenge, students were to present their projects for judging by community member “Sharks.”  Due to school closures, they were not able to do this.  However, prior to this planned judging, the teams had the opportunity to present their work to fellow students, who determined the overall winners by a ballot vote.

Teams were recognized in an online awards and recognition presentation.