This school year, the museum is a "Partner in Education" with the Laurens-Marathon 5th grade class. Recently, the we dived into the “Shark Tank” in a creative and engaging project that promoted learning across subject areas. The project was inspired by the reality TV show, “Shark Tank,” where aspiring entrepreneurs hoping to secure funding for their projects make presentations to potential investors who are seated on a shark panel.
The project began with a presentation by the museum called “Ten Iowa Inventions that Changed the World.” The topic was gleaned from an issue of the Iowan Magazine. Working in pairs, the students picked one of the inventions to research. With the help of their classroom teacher as well as computer teacher Mrs. Hoffman, they prepared a slide presentation. The last step for the students was to pitch their invention to the local shark panel. The panel of sharks wasn't made up of billionaires like on the TV show though. Instead principal Troy Oehlertz, teacher Les Stewart, classroom associate Kris Lampe and historical society members Connie Dallenbach and Dorothy Lamberti served on the panel. The Sharks gave feedback on the strengths of each presentation, such as creativity and speaking skills, and pointed out areas of improvement. This project involved the students in many of the academic standards they are working on.
Matt Nath and Deshun Williams were chosen as the winners with their presentation on the round hay baler. Unlike the reality show, no money was awarded. Instead Deshun and Matt each got a package of shark candy while the other participants enjoyed a small package of fish candy.