Shark Tank: The Four Industrial Revolutions
Bonsall High School: Bonsall, CA | Designing Teachers: Greg Hinchliff, Jessica Knust, Dominic Svatos

The Shark Tank project brings together 11th grade English, History, and Math (Integrated Math III) to explore concepts of exponential growth and programming, and analyze how society has responded the four Industrial Revolutions.

Throughout the course of this project, teams harnessed the power of industry 4.0 through the use of a “chatbot” integrated into a website to articulate their understanding of their industry and it’s growth through the four industrial revolutions as well as to make a case for its continued growth in the future.

Students developed, prepared, and marketed an investment plan to pitch to our Shark Tank audience on an industry of the groups’ choosing. Students demonstrated their knowledge of each Industrial Revolution and had their chatbot explain how the inventions and industrial breakthroughs reflect that age. In other words, their project literally spoke for itself.

Key Academic Skills and Content:


  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence
  • CCSS-ELA-SPEAKING & LISTENING 11-12 4.b Plan and present an argument that: supports a precise claim; provides a logical sequence for claims, counterclaims, and evidence; uses rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., analogy, appeal to logic through reasoning, appeal to emotion or ethical belief); uses varied syntax to link major sections of the presentation to create cohesion and clarity; and provides a concluding statement that supports the argument presented.


  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.LE.A.1 Distinguish between situations that can be modeled with linear functions and with exponential functions.
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.LE.A.2 Construct linear and exponential functions, including arithmetic and geometric sequences, given a graph, a description of a relationship, or two input-output pairs (include reading these from a table).
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.LE.A.3 Observe using graphs and tables that a quantity increasing exponentially eventually exceeds a quantity increasing linearly, quadratically, or (more generally) as a polynomial function.
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.LE.B.5 Interpret the parameters in a linear or exponential function in terms of a context.

Social Science:

  • California Social Science Standard 11.2 Students analyze the relationship among the rise of industrialization, large-scale rural-to-urban migration, and massive immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.
  • California Social Science Standard 11.1.4 4. Examine the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction and of the industrial revolution, including demographic shifts and the emergence in the late nineteenth century of the United States as a world power
    • 1. Know the effects of industrialization on living and working conditions.
    • 2. Describe the changing landscape, including the growth of cities linked by industry and trade, and the development of cities divided according to race, ethnicity, and class.
    • 4. Analyze the effect of urban political machines and responses to them by immigrants and middle-class reformers.
    • 5. Discuss corporate mergers that produced trusts and cartels and the economic and political policies of industrial leaders.
    • 6. Trace the economic development of the United States and its emergence as a major industrial power, including its gains from trade and the advantages of its physical geography.
    • 7. Analyze the similarities and differences between the ideologies of Social Darwinism and Social Gospel

Final Products:

  • Industry Website
  • Propaganda Posters (Player Piano-Kurt Vonnegut novel tie in)
  • “Chatbot” coded by students to respond to questions about their industry, as their industry related to the four industrial revolutions (developed in history and ELA)
  • Exponential Growth Calculator (only required of students enrolled in Math III or Business Math classes)
  • Regression/Exponential Growth Graphs (only required of students enrolled in Math III or Business Math classes)
  • Shark Tank Pitch (Utilizing all other project components to create a case for industry growth and investment).

Suggested Duration: five weeks



Created with the support of the California Department of Education California Career Pathways Trust

Final Products: What The Students Made
Final Products: What The Students Made

In groups, students created a website that showcased all their products. You can see one of the websites here.

These products include…

  • Propaganda Posters inspired by Player Piano, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Chatbot” coded by students to respond to questions about their industry, as their industry related to the four industrial revolutions
  • Exponential Growth Calculator
  • Regression/Exponential Growth Graphs

Students also  “pitched” the industry they focused on for investment in a “shark tank”-style presentation.

You can see a photo from one of these presentations to the left.

Core Practice 1: Cross-curricular Collaboration
Core Practice 1: Cross-curricular Collaboration

The Shark Tank project highlights a cross-curricular collaborative effort between 11th grade English, History, and Math classes. These resources outline project timelines and the collaborative effort between teachers. Our initial planning sessions took place prior to the beginning of the school year to identify timelines, benchmarks, and starting dates. Through the course of the semester, teachers met to refine and further develop project resources. During the project, teachers met several times weekly to discuss student progress and adjust timelines.

Shark Tank Cross Curricular Planning Document: This document includes the second round of planning and brainstorming for the Shark Tank project. Use this tool to help incorporate deliverables or project ideas that expand the content to meet student need.

Shark Tank Cross Curricular Planning Calendar: This calendar outlines math, ELA, and history content covered by cross-curricular team. The calendar was shared by collaborating staff to plan day to day instruction, ensure the development of necessary background knowledge, and maintain benchmark timelines. Collaborative teams regularly met to update and adjust calendar/timelines and discuss student progress through content and project benchmarks.

Collaboration Planning Photo: Our first round of project brainstorming focused on timeline and benchmarks (conducted in August)

Collaboration Planning Photo 2: Our second round of project brainstorming focused on identifying industries and second round of benchmark brainstorming.

Collaboration project launch photo 1: Students document “Knows” and “Need to Knows” during the launch of the project to identify key components and develop an understanding of project understanding.

Collaboration project launch photo 2: History and English teacher facilitates a review of “Knows” and “Need to Knows” during the project launch. This process begins in the American Studies classroom and continues into the Math III and Business Math classrooms.

Shark Tank Group Contract: Student groups utilized this contract to develop working norms and expectations as they completed project requirements.

Core Practice 2: Critique
Core Practice 2: Critique

During the Shark Tank project, students used critique protocols and resources to revise and develop higher quality products. Critique provides a critical component to project work and is highlighted in this project as students use this core practice to improve website development and their Shark Tank pitches.

Shark Tank Critique Photo 1: Students collaborate, reviewing student websites and comparing the work against the rubric.

Shark Tank Critique Photo 2: Student use presentation rubric to critique Shark Tank pitch and supporting website.

Shark Tank Critique Photo 3: Teams annotate presentation rubric to provide peers with feedback prior to the final presentation.

Shark Tank Presentation Rubric: – Students use this rubric in practice runs preparing for their Shark Tank pitch. This same rubric is utilized for assessment during the final presentation.

Shark Tank Presentation Preparation Checklist: Students use this checklist to prepare for critique sessions and final presentations. The checklist summarizes required rubric items.

Shark Tank Critique Follow up Powerpoint: These slides were projected and shared with students following the presentation critique sessions. Students used rubrics, checklists, and slides to revise and rehearse for final presentations.

Shark Tank Audience Rating Scales: Critique: Rating scales include a simplified version of the rubric. Allows audience members during final presentations to give feedback and take notes for presenting team.

Shark Tank Presentation Investment Notes: This critique form is provided to community partners and business members sitting on Shark Tank panels. Each panel member provides feedback and “monetary investment” in the team industry based on the quality of the pitch.

Core Practice 3: Integrating Technology
Core Practice 3: Integrating Technology

As this project focuses on revolutionary industrial advancements technology plays a big role in not only instruction but also project development. Students develop a website to host their industry information and provide a platform for their respective benchmark products. The chatbot for example, developed in the humanities class, is interactive and can respond to user input. It provides some needed preparation for the culminating “shark tank” pitch when students must respond to audience questions. It also models some of the learning in regards to The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the advancement of AI. The math product, an exponential growth calculator, provides a justification for the industry that the students will be arguing is most worthy of investment. Coded in HTML and based on integrated Math 3 standards this product allows students to grapple with content in an authentic context

Shark Tank Integrating Tech Chatbot Graphic Organizer:This graphic organizer helps students to visually represent their coding for their chatbot prior to developing it using the application Flow-XO. A chatbot is an interactive application websites use to talk with human users. Chatbots are good for answering questions in Q&A formats and are even capable of more sophisticated tasks such as reservations, sales, and more. For the purpose of this project the chatbot will clarify any shark tank investor concerns or initial queries.

Shark Tank Integrating Tech Photo: Students update chatbot coding based on critique feedback.

More Interdisciplinary PBL Essentials: