While perhaps not quite as biting an experience that some contestants experience at the hands of the panelists on the ABC television program "Shark Tank," Hilliard Davidson High School students still gained valuable information during their "Shark Tank" experience Feb. 27 – if not a $1 million investment.
"Our students presented a concept and received constructive criticism about presenting ideas," said Rusty Herring, an engineering and Advanced Placement physics teacher at Davidson.
Offered for the second year, 40 engineering and AP physics students, all seniors, formed 13 teams of three or four and pitched concepts to a panel of teachers and adults who volunteered to be "sharks."
In the TV show, entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of investors, who choose whether to invest as business partners.
The Davidson exercise was modeled after the TV show, Herring said, "but without some of the nastiness sometimes seen (on the show), and, of course, no investments are made."
The program is part of the "Project Lead the Way" engineering curriculum at Davidson.
Four "Project Lead the Way" courses are offered at Davidson, with one for each class of students, Herring said.
The senior course is on engineering, design and development, and it included the "Shark Tank" exercise.
"('Project Lead the Way') courses engage the students with some of the major concepts encountered in a postsecondary engineering course of study," Herring said.
Those concepts include the application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STEM – knowledge through project-based learning, he said.
The students used posters and physical prototypes to illustrate their concepts and ideas.
They included seniors Jose Badillo, 18, Isaac Bailey, 17, Evan Curry, 18, and Adam Upperman, 18.
They presented a product called "Warp Zone," which involved a prototype of a stand-up video game console commonly found in 1980s-era video arcades.
The arcade game would be placed in the common areas of public schools and have the ability to upload student-created video games via a flash drive, they said.
"Our idea is to spark interest in students to write their own video-game programs by providing an easy way for other students to try out the games," Curry said.
The "sharks" for the presentation of "Warp Zone" included parents Mark Curry, Mark Royer and Sheldon Yoder, as well as Mike Sapp, a financial-services market leader for IBM.
In addition to volunteering as a "shark," Sapp said, he volunteers to meet with students throughout the year to discuss a variety of engineering-related subject matter, even the patenting process.