When Connor brought home this project, my first thought was, "Oh my, what have we gotten ourselves into??" I remember doing a similar project for school when I was in 6th grade, but it wasn't near this amount of work and preparation. Connor and I read through the various requirements and tried to figure out where to begin. The assignment: come up with an invention, build a prototype, research the product/price/market, and then conduct a presentation for the product like the inventors do on the show Shark Tank.
The hardest part, of course, was coming up with his invention. He brainstormed for days, maybe even weeks, and had several good ideas but nothing we felt comfortable with for building the prototype. He then came up with a great idea for a weatherproof jacket for your backpack -- the JackPack! -- but after his research, it turns out that his idea/name actually already existed! (Who knew?!)
As the days wore on, Connor was feeling a little frustrated about not having an invention idea. Finally, I told him that the best thing to do was to focus on something he loved and that an idea would hopefully follow. So that's what he did, and I'm sure it comes as no surprise that he picked FOOTBALL to focus on. Sure enough, his invention idea soon followed.
Connor's invention: The Ultimate Jersey -- 1 and Done!
It's no secret that the Courtright family members are huge fans of the Houston Texans. But what most people may not know is that we make an effort for every game to match the jersey color of our team on game day. The Texans have 3 jersey colors: deep steel blue, liberty white, and battle red, and of course everyone in our family has to have 1 of each color to match the team.
Here's where Connor's idea came from. Recently we were headed to a Texans game and realized that we had packed the wrong color jersey. We had to drive home to get the right color to support our team. And that, as Connor says, was how The Ultimate Jersey was born!
The Ultimate Jersey is a 3-in-1 NFL jersey that has all of the colors for your team in separate fabric panels that you can flip over your head to change the color. For the prototype, Jeff had several old jerseys that he and Connor cut up, stitched together, and added Velcro to attach on the seams for each color. Then, Connor had to do a ton of research, a product survey, and a PowerPoint presentation to build his case for his invention. Then Connor took it a step further and began watching several episodes of the show Shark Tank to get a better idea of how the presentation process worked. I tell you, he REALLY got into this project!
As the project deadline drew near, Connor practiced and rehearsed so many times that he memorized the entire thing. Our whole family got involved by watching and providing constructive feedback. If there was one thing I worried about, it was that Connor wouldn't have a good presentation due to sometimes awkward presentation style, tone, and mannerisms.
Since I know our families were really curious about Connor's project and how it would turn out, I videotaped Connor's final dress rehearsal on the morning of his presentation. It's a little long so let's just say this is for the grandparents, ha!
Jeff and I were able to attend Connor's live presentation for his class and teacher. When I tell you that Connor did amazing, I mean that he couldn't have done any better! I was blown away!! He was clear, confident, made eye contact, and went through his presentation script without any glitches. Afterwards, he was thrown some pretty tough questions by his classmates and Connor answered every single one directly and with great confidence.
|I snuck a pic before Connor's live presentation. The kids stood in front of the class and even got to wear a fancy headset microphone. So neat!|
|Connor and his fellow classmates were awarded with a Challenge Patent!|
|Feedback from the teacher, love it!|
There have been many moments as Connor's Mom that I have felt proud of my son, but it would be hard to name a time when I felt more proud than after Connor's Shark Tank presentation! If I had to guess the number of hours that Connor invested in this project, I would say it's close to 40 or 50 hours over 4 weeks. He worked SO hard! This project really pushed him out of his comfort zone, but I was blown away by his perseverance from beginning to end. It was so awesome to see how his hard work paid off with a highly successful presentation to his teacher and classmates.
Way to go, Connor!!