Twelve MHS students attended the STEAM Tank Challenge at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
On Oct. 23 and Oct. 24, students from around the state converged on the Atlantic City Convention Center to compete in the STEAM Tank Challenge. Sponsored by the New Jersey School Board Association and the United States Military, teams pitched their science, technology, engineering, arts or math (STEAM) based projects in front of a team of judges.
While the students have to wait until the NJEA Teachers’ Convention in November to find out how they fared, for 12 Moorestown High School students, the challenge marked the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of work on their projects.
Adam Roth, business education teacher, said this was the second year MHS competed at STEAM Tank. The midterm requirement for students in his honors entrepreneurship course is to write a business plan. From there, Roth encourages his students to submit their ideas to various competitions to see how their ideas fare and encouraged his students to apply to the STEAM Tank Challenge.
Students in teams of between three and five pitched ideas, created a business plan and calculated projected sets of financials for their products or services. From there, the teams presented their ideas in front of their classmates in a Shark Tank style setting to see if other students would hypothetically fund their ideas.
Five of Roth’s teams moved onto the regional STEAM Tank competition last spring. Two of the teams graduated, but for the remaining three, they spent the summer and fall months fine tuning their ideas based on the feedback they received at the regional competition.
One team pitched the idea of a healthy snack service with meals sent to you on the go. Another team came up with the idea for a cell phone charging device that would allow one cell phone to plug into another and donate battery power. The third team pitched the idea of integrating holograms into classrooms to get students visually engaged in what they’re learning.
At the regional competition, the hologram group presented their ideas conceptually, but by the time the challenge rolled around in October, the group researched the science and built a prototype of a hologram device that could be worked into a classroom lessons.
Junior Sowmya Bulusu, who was in the hologram group, said in Atlantic City there was a small stage for students to present their ideas before a panel of entrepreneurs, educators and business men/women. She said students could incorporate slides, go into the audience and generally present their project in any way they felt comfortable. Bulusu said she got to hear what other students from around the state had been working on.
Junior Hanna Weinstein, who was also in the hologram group, said the STEAM tank competition was an incredible experience because it allowed her and her classmates an opportunity to better understand entrepreneurship. She said the environment of the competition was realistic to the real world with hard questions about their product and honest feedback.
“[A career in entrepreneurship] is more than just having an idea,” Weinstein said. “It is executing it, thinking about every aspect and detail and believing in yourself and your product no matter what your competitors or other people say.”
The competition’s first place winners will receive a $2,500 prize while second will receive $1,500 and third place will receive $1,000.
Roth said by the time the awards are given out in November, it will be a full year the students have lived and breathed their project and continuously craft their ideas. He said through the process, students have realize that their ideas have real merit, and that’s what’s made the business program at MHS special — having students bring their ideas to life.