Young Minds, Big Ideas: School's AI Shark Tank Event Unveils Student Ingenuity
Last Tuesday’s Shark Tank event at our school marked the grand finale of an exhilarating interdisciplinary AI project week for our 10th graders. This event wasn't just a competition; it was a celebration of young innovation, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and the boundless potential of AI in the hands of the next generation. The event concluded an intense four-day challenge where students, grouped into teams, developed concepts, and, for some, working prototypes. It was inspiring to see how these young minds, in such a short period, translated their ideas into tangible solutions and business ideas.
Our Head of School, Mr. Miebs, opened the night by emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to solving real-world problems. This was aptly followed by Mr. Lentzen's remarks on how the AI revolution necessitates a deeper kind of learning. One event highlight was the participation of two renowned AI experts and GISSV parents, Christian Plagemann and Joseph Smarr. Christian Plagemann discussed how machine learning is changing the computational paradigm which will change the way products are designed, created, and delivered. Joseph Smarr explained with many humorous and easy-to-apply examples how we can harness AI's power effectively. Their deep insights left an indelible impression on our 140 guests, including students, parents, and faculty, sparking lively discussions during the break.
When it came time for the student pitches, the air was thick with anticipation. The sharks, Christian Plagemann (Google Research), Joseph Smarr (Triller), Dirk Lueth (Upland), and Yash Sahay (Meta), all seasoned in their expertise, were visibly impressed by the student's ability to identify specific market niches with real problems.
The entrepreneurship club team represented by Elisabeth (7th grade), Kilian (11th grade), and Lukas (8th grade) clinched the third prize with their startup “ThriveTour” – a hyper-personalized travel website tailored for Gen Z first-time travelers to New York. The second prize was awarded to the “PlaySmart” team (Jonathan, Sascha, and Liv, all 10th grade). Their working prototype, designed to analyze the mistakes of youth hockey players and offer personalized training plans, was a brilliant fusion of sports and technology. The first prize went to “Sort'em” (Mira, Klara, Marlon, Valerie, all 10th graders) for their ingenious idea of gamifying waste separation in schools. Their project not only promotes waste management but also fosters an eco-friendly conscience, making it a win-win for both education and the environment.
The evening culminated with Mr. Lentzen acknowledging Dirk Lueth's six years of unwavering support for the entrepreneurship program. Dirk's co-founding of the club and his mentorship have been invaluable in shaping this platform for young innovators. As we celebrated the achievements of our students, it was clear that this Shark Tank event was more than a competition. It was a powerful demonstration of how interdisciplinary learning can equip our students to tackle complex problems and innovate for a better future.