Alternative Power

7 SharkTank Briarhill

Teacher: Susie Mickel

More to come!


Transforming Instruction -

The SAMR Model is one standard that Lewisville ISD uses to judge how effectively technology is being effectively integrated into teaching and learning.  It was developed by  Dr. Ruben Puentedura. “SAMR” is an acronym that stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Redefinition is the hardest level to achieve because the project would not be possible without technology.

Skype in of national expert -


Dan Fink -skyped to discuss wind power

Adjunct Professor in Solar Energy Technology, Ecotech Institute

Executive Director, Buckville Energy Consulting LLC

NABCEP Registered Continuing Education Providers

IREC/ ISPQ Certified Instructor™ for:

~ PV Installation Professional

~ Small Wind Installer


Visit by Local Expert: Lisa Weaver presented to Mrs. Mickels’ class Lewisville’s plan for the future.  She discussed why they are using solar panels on the emergency warning sirens, how energy is collected for use and redistribution back to the grid and Lewisville’s 2025 Plan.

Sustainability Manager

City of Lewisville


Trela Weesner student engagement -

  • The first step in Design Thinking is empathy. In this step students had to learn about the audience they were designing their product for. In my opinion this is the step that gets the kids excited about the project. They become invested in their product.
  • Students were trying to get to school early, staying late, or working on their prototypes and presentation boards. They really wanted to impress not only the sharks but their classmates and Mrs. Mickle.


Leah Mann Design Thinking

Using human-centered Design Thinking, students created an original product using alternative energy sources. Design Thinking, according to Tim Brown, founder and CEO of Ideo (the people behind the concept) is, “A process—applicable to all walks of life—of creating new and innovative ideas and solving problems. Design thinking is all about upgrading within constraints.” Students learned about the value of empathy in design, and followed the process (empathy, definition, ideation, prototype, test) to create inventions that not only used alternative energy, but solved a real-world problem. Students were guided through a Blendspace lesson that taught them about what it means to have empathy, how Design Thinking works, how to demonstrate a design to an audience, and a real-world example of human-centered design in action: a 3D printed hand for a small child who was born without one. After digging into these concepts and examples, students formed teams to brainstorm their ideas for how to make life better for someone, using alternative energy.

Susie Mickle - Project focus / TEK alignment / Observations / student quotes

Students focused on the  advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels and researched the benefits of switching to an alternative energy sources.  

The focus was on solar power, wind energy, geothermal, hydropower and biomass.  

The unit focused on alternative energy and drew upon the strengths of the staff and students to create this alternative final exam.

  • Leah Mann shared the Design Thinking process with the students.
  • Ms. Mickle and Ms. Weesner  researched  the alternative energies and supported the project creation with the students.
  • Jody Rentfro arranged with the visiting experts to present.
  • The students collaborated in their groups and became budding entrepreneurs.   They developed a product to “sell” to the Sharks, powered by an alternative energy.  In addition, they had to use a multimedia approach to promote the product by developing a company name, logo, storyboard, flyer and jingle about the product.

As a teacher it was thrilling to see the students practicing almost all of the 21st Century Learning objectives.  They collaborated, communicated, participated in creative thinking, and they were innovative. A pleasant result of the unit was that students internalized how using alternative power is a social responsibility. The energy and excitement in my classroom over the past several weeks was amazing!

Ms. Mickle and Ms. Weesner discuss how Design Thinking changed student understanding and increased engagement. (video)

I Some of the “inventions” were a GoGo Brush ( a solar powered hair straightener/curler/blow dryer), Pillowzzz (a pillow with a built in alarm), Relish This (a solar powered condiment machine and Cool Caps (a hat with built in fans).  The ideas were innovative and given some real investors some of these 6th graders could start their own companies.

Student Quotes:

 “There are a lot of things I loved about Shark Tank.  We got to use creativity and empathy that would help people like us.  It was good practice for the real world.  I also liked that we incorporated learning into it by powering our inventions with alternative energy.  It was the best final I’ve ever done!”      Alayna Meilinger

“ We came up with many ideas that expressed empathy, but finally came out with the right one.  Walking into the theme song and seeing the “Sharks” there made me feel like some kind of electricity shooting through my body.  It made me terrified and excited at the same time.  This was the best exam ever!”     Nathan Harmon 

“I loved that we got to collaborate with each other.   If one thing didn’t work, we built a different prototype that was bigger and better.   I will definitely include Shark Tank in my e-Portfolio!”   Madison Freedman

“I wish these prototypes were patented. I would  invest in some of the concepts the kids imagined and presented.  The first thing I would buy a lawn chair that has a solar powered phone charger and fan at the end of the chair. A brilliant concept was a group's presentation on solar powered sun glasses to charge my cell phone, and  the self-propelled mower that edged the lawn when it detected the sidewalk a was amazing!. “Jody Rentfro, Emerging Technologies Specialist