How to Shark Tank your classroom

I have been thinking about a way to get kids more excited about local economic ventures recently. After all, as a resident of the pacific northwest for nearly my whole life, I could hardly do anything less. How could I call myself a true son of Oregon if I didn’t care about local businesses? That would be like calling myself a vegan and not knowing what kale is. Or that I support organic farming with a Monsanto bumper sticker on my car.


Some friends of mine and I sat down the other night talking about this, and we hashed out the basics of a unit plan for a high school economics class. Let me walk you through it.

Here on the Best Coast (please allow me my admittedly biased beliefs about the superiority of Oregon and Washington), we love a good meal. Thing is, there are  two fantastic ways of getting that meal (three if you count buying fresh, organic, and local crops at the farmers market and making dinner yourself).  One way? Head over to one of the many creative restaurants in this area and chow down in style. The other? Walk yourself and a buddy or two to a food cart and take your meal al fresco.

With great examples of both these food-related businesses in our backyard, wouldn’t it be great to get kids excited about it too?

That’s what we thought.

So we decided a great unit would be to have kids look into the economic pros and cons of running a food cart or restaurant. But what element could we add to the unit to give it a little sizzle? A little sizzle not unlike the bacon that features so heavily (and gloriously) in pacific northwest cuisine? What would take our humble country food and elevate it to fine dining*?

We decided to go all Shark Tank on our students.

Confession time: I had never watched an episode of Shark Tank.

For any other sheltered (ignorant?) people out there, I will sum up. Shark tank is a show wherein several fabulously wealthy individuals (sharks) hear a pitch from inventors and entrepreneurs who need a little capital in order to get their business off the ground. In return, the sharks usually take a stake in the business.

The question: how to do this in a classroom? To help, I whipped up an infographic using piktochart:

Untitled Infographic

I think this is an awesome idea, and I really want to try it out in class. If I do, I will totally post about it here.

This post is part of a collaboration between myself, Marguerite MeyerJacob Baker and Erin Keeling.

*yes I did pull that right out of MasterChef


3 responses to “How to Shark Tank your classroom

  1. We just did this with our students about 3 weeks ago. Student enthusiasm was high! The results were awesome. The students did a great job of stepping up and meeting the challenge.


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