Shark Tank: The Gilded Age


Juniors in Ms. Hughes’s U.S. History class are currently studying the Gilded Age. They recently participated in “Gilded Age Shark Tank” based on the ABC hit program. Students were assigned to groups and given a Gilded Age invention which included Coca-Cola, the lightbulb and the phonograph. Students researched their invention while they prepared their presentations for the “sharks.” They had three minutes to try and convince the sharks, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, to invest in their product. The hardest part of the assignment was not using modern references. How do you describe a lightbulb? Students had to describe the actual bulb but then also describe how it was used and why it was better than candles or oil lamps. They realized how hard it was pitch a product and learned more about their individual inventions. Group projects like this allow students to use real-world application of what they learn in the classroom.


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