Fifth graders pitch business ventures to ‘the sharks’

Image of 5th Grade Students participating in Shark Tank lesson

Braelyn Singleton and Britt Cumberland

Britt Cumberland used his knowledge of baseball to pitch his business venture for a fifth grade project modeled after the popular reality television show, Shark Tank.

Teacher Krissy Long said the project spanned the curriculum, using math, science and English/language arts in her classroom at Neshoba Central Elementary School.

Students presented their ideas to the “sharks in the tank.” They tried to convince one of the sharks to invest money in their business venture.

“They built their own business,” Long said. “It could have been a new product or a service they were offering. Forty-three students had their own individual business venture.”

The project also included Amie Pike’s fifth grade class.

Students had to develop a mission statement for their company. They had to outline the cost of materials and design an advertisement that included all project materials, their location, phone number and mission statement, among others.

Long, Pike, teacher Brandon Pope and assistant teacher Bethney Thames were the sharks, who shared their individual expertise.

Cumberland’s business venture was called The Box. It included baseball lessons and a monthly subscription box.

The idea quickly came to mind for Cumberland as he plays travel baseball. He had a pitching coach and he also had a monthly sports subscription.

At The Box, customers can take lessons and/or subscribe to the box.

 “The baseball lessons included pitching, fielding and/or hitting,” Cumberland said. “The box had things such as necklaces, compression sleeves, etc.”

Long was impressed with his business venture.

“He had a partnership with all these major athletic equipment companies that would ship samples to him and he would put in a subscription box,” she said. “It was pretty cool. It was kind of like Etsy, but it was a baseball subscription.”

Student Braelyn Singleton pitched a sink sifter to the sharks.

“It was similar to a drain trap but it was made out of a more durable silicone and was heat resistant,” Long said. “It had very small microscopic holes that would allow water to sift but held even the smallest food particle so it would not go into the sink.”

Singleton thought of her mother when she came up with the idea.

“She would always have problems with food in the sink causing her to empty out the filter,” she said. “I figured I could make this and then all the problems would go away because it would block more food.”

Singleton enjoyed the project but noted that she had to spend a lot of time researching her imaginary product.

“I learned about percentages, money and budgets,” she said.

Overall, students designed a variety of new ventures including one featuring a new type of acrylic cup.

“The student put in different types of acrylic and silicone to make a more shatter resistant cup,” Long said. “It would keep things hot or cold for a longer period of time.”

Long said most all of the students got offers from the sharks except “for a few students who didn’t take the project seriously.”

She was pleased with the overall project, noting that students learned a lot about the business world and being organized as well.

“They learned there is more to life than just going to a store and buying an item,” she said. “People who make those items or have those businesses are putting a lot of time and effort into thinking about profits, equity, taxes, liability, percentages of ownership and even shares in the company.”


Story by Debbie Burt Myers