Spring 2016 brought with it the 2nd Annual CHS Lit Tank. This 11th-grade English assignment is a take on the popular TV show, Lit Tank. Students have five weeks to plan and create a product, service, or business that is literature or literacy based. Students create a digital pitch site, a social media marketing campaign, create mock-ups or prototypes, and present to a panel of “Sharks” composed of district teachers, administrators, and community members.

You can see our PBL Launch video below.

Here are a few of the prototypes and swag created by the students this year:

This is a 3D printed nightlight for one of our team’s products (a special thank you to Mrs. Louise Morgan at STEAM MS for helping with the 3D Printing).

One of our groups 3D printed key chains with their logo to give to the judging panel as swag during their presentation.

And here are some handmade prototypes created by the students…

This is an interactive iPad desk – built and stained by the students (it was still a little wet when they brought it in).

This is a digital book reader – complete with laser reading eye.

This is a business that creates custom painted skateboard decks based on popular works of literature.

These students brought in custom created business cards and product branded swag bags full of custom-labeled bottled water and snacks for the judges.

This team brought in SnapChat stickers that, when scanned, linked up to the branded SnapChat account for their business (complete with images of their sample products).

This team designed and printed t-shirts with their company logo for their presentation!

There are three rounds of judging that make up a team’s score in Lit Tank. The Pitch Site (click HERE for an example of a student pitch site), the presentations, and the teacher’s score (based on the student work over the 5-week period (students set their own deadlines and work schedules for the entire 5 week project). I used Google Docs and Forms to set up Judges schedules and to collect their ratings for each phase of the judging. I used the Autocrat and Docappender add-ons to gather all of the judges comments together and share them with each group of students as feedback.

These scores were averaged an a winner was announced for each class period for each teacher, for each class period overall, and one overall winner was selected. The winners in each period overall and the top winners got their pictures taken with their “$1 Million Dollar Check” and an opportunity to work with Dr. Leslie Bender Jutzi and the Academic Innovations Department to pursue their venture.

All of the winners can be viewed in the gallery…but the Top Winner of Lit Tank 2016 was from Mr. Hopper’s class – Deck Enhancements (custom skate-board painting).

Of course, we debriefed with the students after the project, gathering feedback (through classroom activities and Google Forms) and talking about the process. Here’s some of the feedback gathered:

 Student feedback from Google Forms (unedited):

What is the most important thing you learned in this project?

  • That teamwork is more important than we thought it would be
  • That you can’t always rely on people, even if they’re your closest friends.
  • The most important thing that i learned during this project was that “teamwork makes the dream work”
  • teamwork and expanding your mind. is the main things i learned i learned i can open my mind up to new things and work with obstacles
  • The most important thing I’ve learned from this project is to work with people i don’t know, take on my own responsibility in the project, and work together as a team to get the task done.
  • You do not always depend on yourself, if you ask for help, other members in the group will help you.

What do you wish you  had spent more time on or done differently?

  • The presentation and website, i feel like we could have made it look more professional.
  • I wish I had spent more time on the budget and that we would have had multiple people helping with the budget.
  • i wish we spent more times on our website because we didnt do so well on that so we need to improve on that
  • The pitch site and making sure my team knew how to embed and make the site public.
  • Being prepared to present, we were prepared but it could have been a lot better.

What was the most enjoyable part of this project?

  • Presenting our product to the judges
  • the social media was the most enjoyable part of the project
  • Having a group that was kind to each other and very easy to work with.
  • Working with my group and figuring out how everything works together and watching it all happen from nothing.
  • making the goody bags was sooo much fun and coming up with ideas and stuff.
  • Working with our friends and thinking about how we could change the lives of others by thinking of cool ideas.
  • The most enjoyable part of the project was the day we got our prototype, I have never had seen one in person so it was a nice experience.

What was the least enjoyable part of this project?

  • Getting key chains made
  • Fighting with my group and rushing at the very end to get everything perfect
  • Getting left by a group member who had a lot to do with the project
  • Having to present, and even after all the hard work, getting a grade that was not even that great. It did not feel like the grades we got accurately reflected the work we put in.
  • Nothing, i liked all of it, I really enjoyed this project.
  • The least enjoyable part of this project would have to be the actual presentation in front of the judges.

How could your teacher change the project to make it better next time?

  • Give us one more week to do the project, i feel like we could’ve perfected it with one more week.
  • I don really know. I feel like the project is fine as is, or it needs to have a little more time or practice presentations.
  • I wish they would of given us more time to practice our presentation.
  • Maybe more practice presentations, like after we got feedback I think it would be helpful to present one more time just see if the problems from the first presentation are fixed.
  • More time for feed back from our peers.
  • Coach Hensley did an amazing job with this project and relating it to real world problems.

After going through all of the feedback, we have created some documents to help the students manage their own time better (rather than creating forced deadlines as requested by some students – our goal is for them to learn to manage their own time well). We also will add more time to the project for peer presentations and feedback and LT Kim Estes will create appointment slots for student groups to book with her to ensure that all of their sites and documents are public and accessible to all judges (many teams lost points because they did not check this).

Several students from winning teams were invited to present on the experience at the North Texas Google Summit with teacher Yvonne Hensley in June.

Kim Estes
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Kim Estes

Lead Learning Technologies Coach at Burleson ISD
Teacher, Techie, Mom of 6, Autism Advocate, Army Brat, Navy Wife, Starbucks Addict, Pinterest Fanatic, Google Certified Trainer
Kim Estes
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CHS Lit Tank 2016
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