JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Students from Explore Middle School entered into the “Shark Tank” last week to present their second quarter projects to Administrators at Hudson County Schools of Technology. The presentations all provided a solution to a scientific phenomena and required students to thoroughly research, market and answer questions about their topics.
The top three groups from each grade level were tasked with presenting a promotional video, demonstrating of how their product works and making a proposal to a panel of five judges. Projects included an acid spray that dissolves Styrofoam to prevent putting the material in landfills, a self-filtering water bottle to provide clean drinking water across the globe and a robot to help prevent the devastating effects of hurricanes.
Acting Superintendent Amy Lin-Rodriguez, Retired Superintendent Frank Gargiulo, Director of Planning Dr. Joseph Sirangelo, Business Administrator Nicholas Fargo and CTE Business Partner of the Year Andrew Campbell, President of Eastern Millwork Inc. acted as the investors similarly to the ABC prime time show “Shark Tank.”
“This second quarter project challenged Explore Middle School students to work together and think outside of the box to produce a successful project,” said Acting Superintendent Amy Lin-Rodriguez. “Their projects were creative and a reflection of their countless hours of hard work and dedication. It is important for us to provide students with fun and interactive ways to implement what they learn in the classroom and this activity did just that.
The first place winners — seventh graders Sara Khiri, Eva Ji, Sarosh Aboobakker and Ashley Gordillo — developed an app called “SKUBER,” which allows students to track their school bus so they do not miss their ride or get stuck waiting in inclement weather. They will present their project at Hudson County Schools of Technology’s School Board meeting on Thursday afternoon.
“Essentially we saw a problem that many students were being forced to get to class late or miss school for missing the bus by just a minute of two,” said Sara Khiri. “We thought creating an app would be an easy way to solve this problem and that’s why we came up with this idea.”
The second place winners were sixth grade students Mikail Oflaz, Nicholas Davies, Sierra Garcia and Claire Murray, who designed the app “Fridge Scan.” The app allows users to take a photo of the goods in their refrigerator or upload their grocery store receipts to automatically generate meal recipes based on the food they already have. One major goal of this is to avoid food waste; the app actually alerts you as to when food in your fridge is about to go bad.
Coming in third place were eighth grade students Jessica Malek, Joyce Bryant, Adrian DeJesus and Alexander Jiminez for their “Aqua Strips.” The strips, made from common household items, test the pH levels in water to determine if it is safe to drink.
The three winning groups will have a pizza party and free dress down day. Team “Skuber” will also be awarded with an Amazon gift card and will visit Eastern Millworks Inc. to meet with the company’s engineers.
Teacher Lauren Norcia and Mary Norcia organized the event and helped students develop their projects.
“Our Explore Middle School students presented the ‘sharks’ with nine impressive, high-quality projects, each with a unique solution to global issues ranging from natural disasters to safe drinking water,” said Explore Middle School Principal Allyson Krone. “The effort and enthusiasm our students displayed in their work was remarkable and I congratulate all of our students and faculty advisors on a job well done.”