Fourth-graders get business savvy

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At the Long Beach Public Schools’ April 12 Board of Education meeting, East School fourth-graders demonstrated a unique and innovative project for the board, administration and audience. Earlier this school year, the students simulated the “Shark Tank” television show right in their classroom under the guidance of teacher Douglas MacConnell. They reenacted the activity and described the experience at the meeting. 

The students embraced the assignment to brainstorm and develop products that would be beneficial in everyday life. They brought their ideas to fruition through the creation of business plans, development of websites and eventually pitches to a panel of “investors” who offered partnership proposals. 

The project involved research and the use of Google Sites for website work, which students accomplished through the use of Chromebooks. Their projects covered a full range of details, from breakdowns of expenses and profits to prototypes of the items. The original panel was comprised of teachers, fifth-grade students and Principal Kathleen Connolly, and at the board meeting, a group of students played the roles of investors. 

Preston Glass conceptualized a “Fi Pack” backpack with Wi-Fi, Jack Klang designed “Can See Glasses” that combined sunglasses and binoculars, and Giada Lomonte presented “Two Sips” double-sided cups to maintain the temperatures of hot and cold drinks within the same container. Sophia Bravo crafted “Stay Dry” waterproof dresses, and even sewed and decorated a sample with the assistance of her grandmother. Geddy Moss created “Portable Ninja Warrior” exercise kits, Abigail Moehlenhoff developed the “One-Step Wonderbrush” hairbrush and spray bottle designed to hold organic detangler.

The students were excited to share their novelties and hear the business proposals. Several were faced with difficult choices as they considered their offers, but the outcome opened their minds to the world of possibilities that the future holds.