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Bath, ME (January 17, 2022) - Seventh graders in Seguin House at Bath Middle School closed out 2021 with “Ocean’s Night Expo,” a combination open-house and student “shark tank” competition styled after ABC’s popular entrepreneurial-themed reality show.
Students presented their own ocean-friendly products before a panel of five judges (two BMS teachers, two educators from the Maine Maritime Museum, and a Maine Learning Technology Initiative Ambassador from the Department of Education), their peers, and parents just before winter break. It’s the second time Shark Tank has closed out Seguin House’s “Sustainable Seas” unit, showcasing what students have learned about a problematic invasive species plaguing Maine’s coast: green crabs.
BMS science teacher Monica Wright was instrumental in developing Sustainable Seas in 2013 when she reached out to the area’s land and wildlife conservation organization, the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT), and asked if they would be willing to help her and her students study the crabs. With KELT’s support, Sustainable Seas was formed, and students began studying green crab populations in the field.
Wright and English Language Arts (ELA) teacher Adelle Carter developed the idea for Shark Tank in December of 2019 and was excited for the event to return.
“I loved seeing all the 7th grade students and parents that showed up to support the finalists,” Carter said. “This was the first in-school community-building event I've participated in since COVID. This event is unique because it compels students to use critical thinking skills to solve a real-world problem.”
This year, students presented products which ranged from “Ocean Exhaust,” a charcoal filter that fits over a boat’s exhaust to filter out hazardous air pollutants and particulates, to “Eco Gear,” a sports equipment line made out of recycled ocean plastic. The judges’ pick for best product went to students Sadie Cosgrove and Laura Kelley for “Compostable Condiments,” biodegradable condiment packets made out of seaweed.
“The judges scored each group on creativity, confidence in presenting, persuasiveness, and realistic problem-solving. Compostable Condiments scored higher than the other four finalists in realistic problem-solving with a simple yet realistically achievable product that would have the most positive impact on pollution.”
Carter commended Seguin House teachers for making Shark Tank possible by “lifting each other up, collaborating, and changing schedules for several days to make it happen.” She also thanked the Maine Maritime Museum for providing free programming for students which built their background knowledge on adaptive technology and its effect on our local natural resources.
“It felt great to have parents and guardians with us in person to see the hard work their students put into their projects,” said BMS Principal Brandon Ward. “I’m always impressed to see academic growth represented in their work.”