Shark Tank Project

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CCSD93’s recent district-wide Shark Tank project aligned directly with the 2018-23 Strategic Plan. It required eighth graders in Information & Media Literacy classes at Jay Stream and Stratford middle schools to collaborate in small groups to form “companies” tasked to create and market prototypes of useful inventions or products to peers and then eventually pitch them real business leaders from CCSD93’s community.

As the students developed their projects, they collaborated with Prince Castle, LLC Engineering Manager Lizzie Bertness, an expert in the manufacturing field, who visited all IML classes multiple times to push students to think critically about their products and embrace advanced design thinking concepts currently used in manufacturing.

In addition to building prototypes, students created websites and promotional videos for their inventions to help sell peers on the concepts. Each class held a competition to establish a classroom winner, and each winning classroom team then competed in the inaugural CCSD93 District-Wide Shark Tank Competition at Stratford Middle School’s newly renovated Innovation Center, utilizing the facility’s advanced audio/visual features to present to the “Sharks” and the dozens of peers, parents, and community members in attendance.

Local community business leaders in the manufacturing field, Steve Romanelli, president and COO of Core Pipe Products, and Steve Shei, vice president of strategy & innovation at Prince Castle, served as the Sharks for the event, rating each team on originality of idea, quality of prototype, product of promotion and presentation of the product. After each group’s presentation, the Sharks asked questions to challenge students to think further and provide greater clarity on their product’s purpose and functionality.

Jay Stream students from HEAP Inc. were declared the winner for their product, The Craig Backpack, which helps to lighten the load by making it easier and more comfortable for students to carry heavy backpacks. Runner-up products included a vending machine that takes student-earned tokens instead of money, a marker that enables its user to choose from several different colors of ink, an app for well-behaved students to earn rewards from their teachers and scrunchies that help raise money for cancer research.

Following the project, all participating students visited both Core Pipe and Prince Castle to learn firsthand about the manufacturing process. Leaders from both businesses took students on tours of the facilities, including manufacturing floors, to teach students how their products are made from design and inception to finished product.

This engaging and relevant learning experience required CCSD93 students to apply crucial 21st century skills like adaptability, entrepreneurship, communication, creativity, analysis and curiosity while enabling them to gain real-world knowledge from two world-class manufacturers right in their community’s backyard. Special thanks to both companies and to the Carol Stream Chamber for partnering with CCSD93 on this project.

Core Pipe Products, Inc.
Core Pipe Products, Inc. is a manufacturer of stainless and alloy weld fittings and flanges, with corporate headquarters located in Carol Stream. Company roots date back to 1978 when it started as Tube-Line Stainless Division of Hi-Shear Industries. The company has since grown to have several locations throughout the world and is recognized as one of the global leaders in its field.

Core Pipe products are used in various industries including chemical, oil and gas, water, breweries and power generation. Whenever customers are looking for a high quality piping solution, they choose Core Pipe Products.

This family-owned company is proud to be associated with Carol Stream and the surrounding communities. Its dedicated staff has helped drive company success as the company looks forward to a bright future.

The Story of Prince Castle
In 1931, Earl Prince and his boyhood friend Walter Fredenhagen opened the first of five Prince Castle Ice Cream Shops. Their partnership was sealed with a handshake and would lead to many ice cream innovations such as the multi-mixer shake machine, the see-through ice cream containers and the square ice cream scoop.

In 1955, Fredenhagen and Prince concluded their businesses. Fredenhagen took his remaining Prince Castle Restaurants and rebranded, changing the franchise name to what many may remember as Cock Robin. Prince shifted to the manufacturing side of the food and beverage industry, and the rest is history.

Today, Prince Castle is more than just a manufacturer of food service equipment. The global company is a pioneer, improving the operations of the world’s leading restaurant brands contributing to better tasting food and higher restaurant profits. They are dedicated to making food easier by ensuring a more efficient, safe and engaging process when it comes to food preparation, storage and safety.

Prince Castle adheres to strong ethics and values that bring people together in a unified approach of working for one another in a safe, fun and empowering environment. Keeping things simple, by using the 80/20 method, is at the top of their list as does its end goal that is always in sight: Making it better than it is today.

Prince Castle’s parent company, Marmon Holdings, Inc., part of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is a global industrial organization comprising 13 diverse business sectors and more than 100 autonomous manufacturing and service businesses. Marmon’s Foodservice Technologies supports the global food and beverage industry for restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, and other commercial and institutional environments. Marmon businesses operate about 400 manufacturing, distribution, and service facilities, and employ about 19,000 people worldwide.