Talk about a tough sell.
Mat Scott, civics teacher at Bayside Middle, turned an economics lesson into an entrepreneurial experience by having groups of students create a business and product, a la Shark Tank, the popular business pitch show on ABC. Armed with a business profile, marketing plan, and either schematics or a prototype, students visited teachers to make their sales pitch and find investors.
Eighth-graders Nia Donawa and Ayanna Garvin made a sales pitch for their Reflection Perfection invention, a smart dressing room mirror. With their invention in a department store, a customer could walk into the dressing room and pick clothing from a touch screen. In 3D they would see how an item fit without ever taking if off a coat hanger. According to the students, not only would their invention please customers, but it also would speed up picking out clothes and reduce theft. Their imaginary invention garnered $400 from investors.
One team had floor samples to show off their new cleaning product. Another had business cards and a menu for Sweet Treats Retreats, a bakery for people with special dietary needs. Other inventions offered a look into the future: a hover skateboard, a hologram watch, iPhone earrings, and a single machine that washed and dried clothes.
In the end, the business earning the most investment money had designed a Smart Desk so students could do all of their work on a touch sensitive desk surface with hologram projection capabilities.