The other day, I came home with a small box of groceries. As I emptied out the box, an idea struck. Knowing kids love to make crafts (especially out of boxes) I challenged my children to think of something useful they could make out of the box. I gave them one condition – they had to agree on what they would use the box for. Excited by the venture, they set on their way, thinking and planning. I overheard them talking about what they each wanted the box to be used for (yes, you guessed it – they were not on the same page). I continued eavesdropping, pretending to be busy in the kitchen, hoping they’d soon come to a consensus. Five minutes later the arguing began and so I stepped in. My goal was for them to present their idea together, but perhaps a little friendly competition wouldn’t hurt.
For those of you who are familiar with the show Shark Tank, you know where this is going.
I asked the eager participants (then aged 4 and 8) to draw a picture of their master plan for the box and then come up with a convincing statement outlining the usefulness of their product. I suggested that next time we had a family gathering (which was the following day, so it would be quite immediate), we could have everyone act as judges and listen to their plan of action. We reviewed what they’d need to cover in the sales pitch: usefulness, durability, and of course, any cost I would incur as part of the construction (tape, paint, etc.).
With the prospect of a large audience and an exciting game plan, the sketching and designing began.
It was soon decided. My son wanted to use the box to make a giant house for all his little minions. My daughter wanted to turn the box into a cart that would easily transport her toys from room to room.
Giant Minion House A Toy cart
The following day, the panel of judges, comprised of grandparents, aunts and uncles, took their place and listened to the well-rehearsed presentations. Questions were raised about production, practicality, cost of supplies and durability. To my pleasant surprise, their responses were quite thorough and thus received well among the judges.
“Why would anyone want to buy a giant minion house?”
- “So all the little minions could go inside it and then there won’t be any mess. Mommies don’t like messes.”
“How would a toy cart be useful?”
- “When kids play, they carry toys back and forth. If they had a cart, they could just put everything they need inside it. If they hold many things, they could fall out of their hands and it would be heavy too.”
Needless to say, this was a difficult decision to make. And of course, not having the heart to choose one over the other, they both won the grand prize (I would just need to pay the supermarket another visit).
I absolutely loved the creative skills, decision-making, visual thinking skills, rationalizing, dedication and imagination that this activity sparked. I decided it would be a wonderful idea to take back to the classroom. With slight adjustments and variations on expectations, it can easily work across all age groups and in all grade levels. It would also lend itself well to a procedural writing piece. For free procedure writing templates, visit Worksheet Place.
I hope you have as much fun with this activity as I have, whether it be at home or in the classroom. Feel free to come back and share your Shark Tank creations.
Have a wonderful week!