November 19

Blog #162 – Final Exam – Shark Tank

So I have read about the Shark Tank simulation for years on Facebook APUSH teacher pages, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off until I found a format that worked for our classes.  I was debating doing other simulations that I have done in the past, but I was concerned about pacing or covering enough material before the final.  Once I figured out we had a couple of flexible days, we did it, and I don’t regret it. It was a lot of fun, and I think I can make some tweaks and make it even better for the next time I use it in the future.  That’s where I need your help.  (See final question).

What we see in the antebellum time period (1800-1860) was an amazing amount of groundbreaking inventions that we are still seeing the ramifications of in our modern day (though some are still used today like the railroads, textile mills, typewriters, etc., they no longer dominate today like they did the 19th and early 20th centuries).  But a few of them had incredibly transformative effects on America and the world.

Yet, the Shark Tank simulation reinforced two ideas in my mind about the importance of capital to help new inventions get off the ground, as well as the great need for workers to help make those inventions become more popular and reach a broad audience.  And there still seems to be a constant battle capital and labor as seen in many of the labor conflicts we have seen in the past two years or so.  For instance, back when the auto companies were facing bankruptcy in 2009, their workers took huge hits to their salary and benefits in order to keep the companies afloat, but since then, the companies have recovered and the workers want to share in their companies’ earnings.  And with the strikes, the companies could do little.

Questions to consider:

1. Which of the inventions we highlighted do you think had the greatest impact on America in the long term?  Explain why.
2. Why do you think there is such constant tension between capital and labor? (This will be a theme we will explore for the rest of the year). Explain your answer.
3. Tell me your role in the simulation – Shark or Inventor – and give me one thing you really liked about the simulation and one thing that could be improved.  Explain your answers for both.

400 words total for all three answers.  Due Wednesday night, Nov. 22, by midnight.

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Posted November 19, 2023 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

66 thoughts on “Blog #162 – Final Exam – Shark Tank

  1. Rhian Dansby

    Out of all the inventions we went over in the shark tank, I feel as though the telegraph, invented by Samuel Morse and other inventors, had the biggest impact on America in the long term. The telegraph made it so information was exchanged as fast as a galloping horse and even a sailing ship. It was also the first invention in history that allowed instant communication over far distances. The telegraph was even used during the Civil War. The fact that the telegraph was like a foundation for long-distance communication in itself was a big thing since telephones were later created as an improvement to the telegraph as well as cellphones which are used so often today. Overall the telegraph helped with communication being transferred faster such as during wars, and was just used for citizens to connect with others far from them in an easier way.

    One reason I believe there is such constant tension between capital and labor is that there is usually a power imbalance between those who own and control capital and the laborers. This usually leads to conflicts with working conditions, wages, and issuing money. Another thing is that the more capital the less labor. You usually need more workers to produce the capital you need such as any type of product or goods so if you have a lot of capital you don’t need as much labor. Once you produce enough there would basically be no need for labor anymore. Also if you are low on capital you will need more workers to produce the capital. Another thing can be that those who own and produce capital want to maximize profits while reducing costs. An after-effect of reducing costs is reducing worker’s wages to do this. This causes the conflict to increase between laborers and those who produce and own capital. All these go into the conflicts.

    In the shark tank simulation that we did in class last week, I was an inventor and my invention was the cotton gin. One thing that I really enjoyed about the shark tank simulation was the fact that the inventors were able to pitch their inventions off of a slideshow. This just made the whole thing of having to present much easier. One thing that I didn’t like too much was the shark’s free will to ask any questions. Some of the questions that were being asked were just really random and honestly didn’t have much to do with what the inventors were presenting. So I feel as if the sharks should have a limited kind of questions they can ask. Overall this was a cool way to learn about the different inventions.

  2. Hannah Martens

    1. I think that the invention of railroads had the greatest long term impact on America. Not only did railroads revolutionize transportation by land at the time, causing a large boost to the economy, but they are one of the few inventions that we studied that are still in use today, with some adaptations and improvements. Companies still use trains to ship their products throughout the country. Also, although the popular form of transportation is in cars, the main form of public transportation, mainly in larger cities, is things like the subway or light rail, which are vehicles very similar in theory to the railroad system introduced back in the 19th century.
    2. I think there is such constant tension between capital and labor because the more demand there is for a company’s product, the more labor they need to produce it, which leads to the need for more capital to pay the laborers. If the company pays the laborers the amount they think is fair, the company may not actually make any more profit by selling more products, because the more money they make, the more the laborers want to be paid. If the company never raises the salary of laborers as they earn more capital, then that is what leads to the organization of strikes or similar protests, which hurt the company.
    3. I had the role of inventor in the simulation, and I overall really enjoyed it. I thought it was a unique way to go into more depth about something we’d learn about in class, and I enjoyed being able to work with a partner. One improvement I think could be made, and someone brought this up in class, is supplying inventors (and sharks) with specific materials to focus on when studying their inventions. Going along with that, as an investor I felt unprepared in terms of being able to answer the sharks’ questions. Obviously providing websites or articles will help with that, but I also think there should be some limits to the questions a shark can ask. That being said, I understood where those questions were coming from as I was watching others present, because I thought of many questions I would’ve asked as a shark, and I wished I could’ve. So, if this is going to be a once a year occurrence, maybe there could be some sort of rotation so that the people in the shark’s place get to take turns, making the workload more even, and giving everyone a chance to be a shark and an inventor.

  3. Mamy Diop

    The invention with the greatest impact on America was Railroads. Railroads revolutionized transportation and America would be geographically as well as economically different today if it weren’t for this invention. Geographical Railroads contributed to our westward expansion, even if America had achieved this expansion without the Railroads it would have taken significantly longer to achieve the success that we achieve with the Railroads. Economically Railroads transformed how we traded. We were able to trade between states much more officially and more cost effectively. The Railroad system nearly cut the cost of shipping goods in half, which at the time was incredibly innovative. And in the future well see Railroads being a vital part of the civil war and future wars.
    In my option it all boils down to greed. Throughout American history we see this struggle. Although it’s not always about greed it definitely plays a role. Owning and running a company is extremely hard and time consuming. Although the struggle between capital and labor appears in all businesses its most apparent at a higher level. When it comes to factories and larger scale companies it’s a lot harder to distribute money. A lot of times the employees, the ones supplying the labor, are given what everys left. But, and this is where greed comes in, sometimes businesses take some of the money that should be given to the laborers, to line their pockets and bolster the bottom line. Although this isn’t the case for all businesses, we do often see this result. Throughout our history there are so many examples and you would think that we’d learn.
    I was a shark, I really enjoyed this simulation. My favorite part was researching the rich people and creating a persona. Although it was hard to apply the research it was really cool to learn more about a black female millionaire from the 19th century. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it as much if it wasn’t a person I genuinely enjoyed learning about. The only thing that I would recommend, for the inventures, is giving a little more guidance for research. I’m not 100% sure how that would look, but like maybe giving a few websites where they can find the information. Also possible, requiring sharks to post their questions (like we did for the Socratic seminar), that way even if questions do come up during the presentation the inventures still have somewhat of an idea of what they’re walking into.

  4. Margaux Nollet

    1. Which of the inventions we highlighted do you think had the greatest impact on America in the long term  Explain why.

    In my opinion, railroads had the greatest impact on America in the long term because they transformed how people traveled and connected regions together. Since people and regions could be connected, ideas could move around the country more easily. This made it possible for different cultures to share their practices, products, and new ideas with each other, making society more diverse. Before railroads, getting goods from one place to another was slow and expensive, as they relied on horses, rivers, or canals. When railroads were introduced, it made it faster and more affordable for businesses to transport materials and products, boosting production. Businesses could also sell their products to more customers beyond their local areas. This helped the economy because it allowed businesses to find new markets and sell more things. In addition, they created jobs because people needed to build tracks, bridges, and trains. Since towns and cities grew along railway routes, local economies expanded, offering jobs in various sectors like trade and services too. If railroads hadn’t been invented, the different sections could have stayed isolated, leading to more conflict.

    2. Why do you think there is such constant tension between capital and labor? (This will be a theme we will explore for the rest of the year.)  Explain your answer.

    I think that there are such constant tensions between capital and labor because they have different goals. Laborers want to secure the highest possible wages while maintaining good working conditions. On the other hand, capital is looking to maximize benefits and profits. This disconnect leads to constant tensions as capital tries to restrict spending to boost earnings. Consequently, they may reduce expenses, such as wages and workplace luxuries. This frustration between laborers comes from their desire for the highest salary possible, which causes them to either leave or take part in strikes when capital falls short. However, without capital investment, businesses cannot thrive, resulting in a lack of job opportunities. On the flip side, without laborers, a company can’t thrive either.

    3. Tell me your role in the simulation shark or inventor and give me one thing you really liked about the simulation and one thing that could be improved  Explain your answers for both:

    In the simulation, I was an inventor.
    One thing that I really liked was how we had to take notes on each invention. In my opinion, taking notes forced me to focus and understand why each invention played a role in shaping the United States and its economy. Plus, it made it easier for me to remember the purpose of each invention, which helped me to learn quickly and effectively. I also thought it was good because it is a useful review tool. Things that could be improved are the time limits and presentation requirements. During the presentations, it felt very rushed because each group only had three minutes, and the sharks only had one minute to ask questions. This timeframe made it hard for everyone to effectively present their opinions. In addition, many presentations leaned more towards being informational than a pitch. Since most people read the information on the board, it was difficult for the audience to both listen and take notes. It also didn’t really feel like Shark Tank because people mostly explained their inventions rather than negotiating with the sharks or persuading them to make a deal.

  5. Ashley Glime

    I think the invention that had the biggest impact on America was the cotton gin. The cotton gin separated seeds from cotton that made production so much faster and made so much more productivity. What the cotton gin impacted most was the increase in slavery and land. Cotton was such a profitable crop that could be used for multiple products. Because cotton was so profitable it doubled in need which caused the need for more slaves unfortunately. This is why the Cotton gin was the most influential due to the economic impact and also the impact on slavery.
    Capital and labor I believe was such a problem due to the effort put into the work and the results that would come out of it. For example in the lowell factories the women worked insanely long hours under extreme work conditions. The time in and time out portion of work was a huge part of it. If you didnt work extreme hours and put in good quality work then the money you receive depends on it. When starting a new business the funding also plays a huge role in it. When to pay workers based on effort and increase in workers when new work comes increases pay. Also when you want to increase material in some areas you have to figure out how much and what to spend it on.
    I was an inventor in the shark tank project. The one thing I liked about it was the format of it. It was a fast way of nailing down facts on an invention. It also gave multiple lessons of figuring how to persuade people and work with funding and costs and percents behind a business. It also felt like a fun assignment and it wasn’t stressful or boring to work on. What I think could be improved on was maybe spending more time on presentations. I feel like it would be more fun to go deeper into how your invention is worth investing in and debating about it in front of the class in more depth. I also think it would be fun if each of the sharks researched 3-4 of the inventions that way everyone’s invention is researched. Every person who invented a certain invention should have questions prepared rather than some of the questions made up on the spot. Overall the shark tank was a fun project that should be carried on into other trimesters and years to come.

  6. Juliette Shebib

    Out of all of the inventions we had a choice of picking for our shark tank project, I think that the railroad was the most impactful in the long run. I’m not necessarily saying it was most definitely the most impactful, it’s just an opinion and every invention made an impact in their own way. First off, I think that the telegraph was impactful for quite a few reasons. One reason was because it helped provide new economic opportunities by allowing farther and faster transportation of goods and people. By being able to move people fast, it leads me into my next reason, being that it helped open the way for more west settlement. Another thing that the invention of railroads helped with was tying the country together by having tracks all over the country. These tracks made the country more connected and made it easier to get from place to place, making it seem closer. Another way you can think of this, is that railroads are still used in the modern day, while some of the other inventions from the 1800 are not.
    I think that there is such a constant tension between capital and labor because the higher ups/employers are typically always above those that they employ, meaning that they have better treatment and get paid more. The workers are constantly working hard, yet as the company gains more capital, the laborers continue to work the same yet their own capital does not increase. This creates tension, and sometimes it might make the laborer to continue working for that company, this is why raises are important for those who work long and hard for companies.
    During the shark tank simulation, I was one of the sharks. My job was to research two inventions from the list and come up with three questions about it. During presentation time, I had to take notes about the inventions. One thing that I really enjoyed about the simulation was that it was nice to have a break from rough classwork and do something fun while still learning. I think this was a more involved activity and it helped everyone learn lots about the inventions. One thing that I think could be improved on the sharks’ part is a little bit more instruction on the questions. I personally had a difficult time coming up with what I thought were good questions for me to ask about my invention, and I think a little bit more instruction would be helpful. On the inventors part, I heard some people talking about how it was really difficult to find sources to use about the inventions, and I know you mentioned that maybe next time you’ll pile up some sources for the next time you do this project.

  7. Lauren Goins

    1.) I think that Eli Whitney’s invention of interchangeable parts has the greatest long term effect on our country out of the inventions pitched during our Shark Tank simulation. I think this because the interchangeable parts allowed for faster and cheaper repairs of weaponry, machinery, factories, etc. Whitney’s invention enabled the Industrial Revolution in a way that ensured the longevity of important industrial elements. Considering that the first appearance of interchangeable parts was as pieces of a gun, it allowed some families to feel more safe and secure within their homes, because they could purchase a weapon without worry of having to pay for it in full at the slightest defect. Without this invention, factories with components susceptible to malfunction would have to cease production for an unforeseeable amount of time, simply because there wouldn’t have been an easy fix to whatever problem that had occurred.

    2.) The constant tension between capital and labor, especially during the American Industrial and Transportation Revolutions, were often caused by the demand for labor performed in poor conditions by trusted laborers. In the South, almost all labor was done by the enslaved population. Because of this, the majority of investments generated sizable profits that were not cut into by demanding wages. In the North, groups such as the Boston Associates were known to invest in budding businesses, but they were also accustomed with the risk that could have presented itself if their capital was not properly invested. So, most of the tensions came from the question of whether investors should employ laborers that would expect pay, or enslave previously unbothered populations to force unpaid work upon them.

    3.) In the Shark Tank simulation, I acted as an inventor of the Waltham-Lowell textile factory system. During my preparation for this simulation, I enjoyed thoroughly researching the topic. I specifically enjoyed it because I didn’t only research the invention, but also its inventions and its reasons for being invented. One thing that I wish was improved was the instructions, so that all of the Sharks and Inventors would be on the same page, and have the same expectations. Because we were not on the same page, some inventors made a slideshow of visuals, while others made informational pitches that they read word for word. Along with increased knowledge of expectations, I also think that if the goal is to imitate Shark Tank, then the Sharks should take time to verbalize their opinions, and invest in their chosen inventions. If the goal isn’t to imitate Shark Tank in such a way, the Sharks and Inventors should be aware of that.

  8. Zoe Burrell

    1.One of the inventions I feel had a long term impact on America was the cotton gin. The cotton gin transformed cotton production,making it faster and more efficient to separate the cotton fibers from the seeds.This led to a surplus amount of cotton production, which in turn fueled the growth of the textile industry. Sadly the cotton gin played a major part in the expansion of slavery. It created a higher demand for cotton which increased the need for labor in the cotton fields. This problem eventually became a big point of a huge disagreement between Northern and Southern states,which contributed to the hostility that led to the American civil war.

    2. There will always be disputes, tension and disagreements between laborers and management. Laborers feel that, out of all of their hard work and long working hours, they should benefit more from the profits that the company makes. Without the laborers there would be no profits. The laborers make the company successful. Management wants to keep as much of the profits as possible to pay themselves millions of dollars and to dish out dividends to stockholders.. In today’s world large companies make millions of dollars. Workers want more of the pie. A prime example of this was displayed in the musical Newsies. Jack Kelly was a poor young man the apposed the price increase of the newspaper. Mr. Pulitzer, the wealthy owner of a Newspaper company took advantage of the Newsies. He increased the price of the newspapers that the Newsies had to buy from him. He was a self-centered egotistical person who had little concern for the little people that worked for him who sold the papers. Pulitzer doesn’t care about the working condition or the workers. All he cares about is his profit and how he can make more of it. He’s the one getting all the money while the Newsies get little to no pay at all for doing all the work.

    3. When we did this simulation I was an Inventor. One thing I liked about this simulation was how stressless it was and it was also fun. I really loved working with a partner and making the slides as well. It didn’t require a lot of work like most of the other assignments do. It was also fun which made it even better. I also liked how doing the research for the invention helped us learn how it impacted America. I feel the simulation could improve if we had leads to where we could get good reliable information. Much of the research was difficult to find. I feel like having some recommended sites for the inventions could also help with that. I don’t know if it was just my partner and I but we had a little trouble finding some good information about our invention. So, it would be nice if there were some websites that you could recommend for us.

  9. Hangyul Kim

    Which of the inventions we highlighted do you think had the greatest impact on America in the long term? Explain why.

    The cotton gin and the textile watermill had the greatest impact on America in the long term. The cotton gin increased the speed of picking the seeds out of cotton but also increased the need for slavery. With the increase of slavery, the Southerners’ defense of slavery grew and the invention may have been a contributing factor leading to the greater division between the North and the South. The division also eventually led to the Civil War which could have possibly been prevented without the invention of the cotton gin. The cotton gin also inspired more inventors because of the cotton gin’s success and it led to a surge of new inventions. Next, the water-powered textile mills were the leading factor in the Industrial Revolution in America, and without them, factories may not have been how they are today. The mill introduced the idea of automated factory machines, machines that could do work with a minimal amount of people. With it, the precedent for factories and the industry was set and we still see this type of system today.

    Why do you think there is such constant tension between capital and labor? (This will be a theme we will explore for the rest of the year). Explain your answer.

    There is always a tension between capital and labor because the employer will always be above the employee. The riches made by a company or a business are made through the contributions of each employee, yet the majority of the people working are the people at the bottom, and the minority, the people at the top, reap the benefits. So while there is money made, the employees never get to see the full amount or even are at a disadvantage when working. Then there is spite between the workers and the owners because of this. For example, the workers in the North’s factories during America’s Industrial Revolution had to work long hours under dangerous conditions and received little pay while the factory owners always became rich and benefited from the employees’ work. Then unions were formed and went on strikes to change the policies which created more tension between the workers and the owners.

    Tell me your role in the simulation – Shark or Inventor – and give me one thing you really liked about the simulation and one thing that could be improved. Explain your answers for both.

    I was a shark in the simulation and I really liked the concept of people presenting antebellum-period inventions as if they were the inventors who made them were presenting them to investors. But one thing that could be improved is the amount of time people were given to present their inventions. It would have been nice if we got at least two days to finish the presentations so that there could be more discussion among the sharks and so investors could invest in real-time and change sales pitches rather than doing them later.

  10. danedimmer

    The invention we highlighted that I think had the greatest impact on America in the long term is Interchangeable parts because it pretty much ties in with every other invention we highlighted. Interchangeable parts made it so you didn’t have to waste your time sending it to a craftsman if it had a faulty part, instead you could just buy a brand new version of that exact same part and replace it yourself. It revolutionized the weapons that the army used and made it easier to obtain due to its relatively low cost. The interchangeable parts even expanded to other industries and are used in pretty much every single other invention in the project due to how useful it was, and in hindsight helped make things we use today like cars and computers possible with all the different parts they use. I think it had a very powerful impact on the United States in the long term and in the short term and helped develop many industries to come.
    I think there is a constant tension between capital and labor because you need to make a reasonable amount of money back on your product or else it’s a waste of money and paying workers too much sometimes gets in the way in the eyes of a business owner who tends to mostly see money as their motivator. When there’s less money there’s less people to hire and less profit to be made but when there is more money there is more people to be hired and that means the higher the profit, so employers will likely take the cheaper route and hire cheap labor who back in the day were mostly immigrant workers from Ireland and other places looking to make a living.
    My role was an inventor and one thing i really liked about the simulation was researching my invention and making the slide for it because i learned things i wouldn’t have gone out of my way to learn before and making the slide and finding the pictures for it was interesting and creative. One thing that could be improved is the questions because there were some questions that I couldn’t answer due to the lack of information. The resources i use didn’t get too in depth like the questions were and some of the answers were unknown like how much money it cost to make the invention.

  11. Carly R

    1. Which of the inventions we highlighted do you think had the greatest impact on America in the long term? Explain why.

    I think that unfortunately, the cotton gin had the greatest impact on America in the long run, even though it impacted it very negatively. Slavery seemed to be dying out, but the invention of the cotton gin made cotton a cash crop, and slavery seemed to be on the rise again. The cotton gin made it so much easier to separate the cotton fiber from the seed, which led to a massive increase in cotton production. This boosted the Southern economy, but also increased the demand for slave labor. However, the cotton industry didn’t just impact the south, the north was also greatly impacted. The increased production of cotton fueled the textile industry in the north, which overall contributed to the industrialization of the United States.

    2. Why do you think there is such constant tension between capital and labor? (This will be a theme we will explore for the rest of the year). Explain your answer.

    I think there is constant tension between capital and labor because they have conflicting interests. Capital wants to make money, while labor seeks fair wages, safe working conditions, and benefits. If these criteria’s aren’t met, it can contribute to negotiations and sometimes even a strike. There is also a power imbalance between capital and labor, which can greatly contribute to tension. People like business owners usually have significant political and economic power over their workers. There are also advancements in technology that can contribute to tension as well. New technology can alter the demand for labor, which can lead to people being laid off and losing their jobs. We see this a lot lately with the rise of artificial intelligence taking the place of workers.

    3. Tell me your role in the simulation – Shark or Inventor – and give me one thing you really liked about the simulation and one thing that could be improved. Explain your answers for both.

    I was an inventor, and my product was the water powered mill by Samuel Slater. One thing that I really liked about the simulation was the fact that it wasn’t a traditional presentation. It is a lot more fun to present to other people when you are trying to sell something. I think it also made me go more in depth about my product, and really make sure I was prepared to give the presentation because sharks would be asking us questions. A shark tank presentation was also more entertaining to watch, because it wasn’t just someone standing at the front of the room saying a bunch of information, they were actually trying to sell something. One thing I think could be improved was the three minute presentation time. It was really nerve racking to say everything in 3 minutes, which resulted in me tripping over my words and stuttering a lot. I know all the presentations have to be fit into one class period, but possibly next year you could use two class periods.

  12. Kabir

    1. Which of the inventions we highlighted do you think had the greatest impact on America in the long term? Explain why.
    2. Why do you think there is such constant tension between capital and labor? (This will be a theme we will explore for the rest of the year). Explain your answer.
    3. Tell me your role in the simulation – Shark or Inventor – and give me one thing you really liked about the simulation and one thing that could be improved. Explain your answers for both.
    I think of all the inventions we highlighted, the greatest impact on America in the long term happened through the cotton gin made by Eli Whitney. When the cotton gin was made, it seemed as if slavery was slowly fading away. The cotton gin was supposed to decline slavery. However, the cotton gin, instead of accelerating the decline of slavery, boosted it. All the cotton gin did was reduce the labor of removing seeds from cotton fibers. It didn’t reduce the need that slave owners had to use slaves to grow the cotton. With the growth of the textile factory at the same time, and the need for cotton to make clothes for the factories, the need for slavery in the country absolutely skyrocketed. This unfortunately makes the greatest long-term impact on America to be the cotton gin (no matter how negative this impact was).
    I believe that there is such constant tension between capital and labor because of the fact that capital is made by the laborers. Laborers need money to have a good quality of life and live comfortably, yet companies are not willing to pay them this money as they keep the company’s interests valued over their employees. While they obviously want employees, it’s best for the company financially to pay them as little as possible, which obviously irks employees.
    My role in the simulation was as an inventor with Max Schardt as we did our presentation based on the Erie Canal. Regarding the simulation, I was a huge fan of the way that we were allowed to research. I loved how we got time in class to finish our research and it gave us a break from all the tests and quizzes (plus finals) happening at the time. I also liked the idea of taking notes during presentations as I feel I comprehended the material better doing so. However, one thing that could be improved for the simulation is the questions. I feel as if the inventors weren’t given any sort of hint as to what questions could possibly be from the Sharks. I believe that without that, inventors were struggling to respond on the spot, especially if the question was extremely in depth about the subject and the inventor hadn’t had time to research it. I believe that some questions were also out of the researchable range for the inventors and couldn’t be answered unless it was by an expert.

  13. Henry M

    1. I think that the invention we covered with the greatest long-term impact on America is the cotton gin. The cotton gin made the American cotton industry become much more profitable, fueling the future growth of the American economy. In requiring less labor to produce each pound of cotton, slaves were allocated to picking and planting more and more cotton. Also, the increased profits of a more efficient system were largely reinvested into more slaves, both domestically purchased and shipped from Africa. The increased output of cotton not only allowed America to export desired raw materials, it also fueled the Industrial Revolution happening further north. Cotton would be shipped to New England where it would be processed into different fabrics and yarns for export to Europe. The profits from this cotton and textile industry led America to stand out as a rich country on a global scale. Had it not been for the impacts of the cotton gin, America would not be as prosperous as it is today.
    2. The constant conflict between capital and labor is because their goals contradict each other. A business wants to maximize profits in any way it sees fit, while laborers want to be fairly valued for their work. These contradict each other because in order to maximize profits, costs need to go down. In most cases, the simplest way to lower costs is to lower employees’ wages. An employee wants their salary to be as high as possible, costing the company more.
    3. In our shark tank simulation, I was a shark. One thing about the simulation that I really liked was how engaging it was. I learned a lot about these inventions, likely retaining more information than if we had just covered them on a PowerPoint. I feel that I retained more because I felt a sense of responsibility to understand these products because it mattered towards what I chose to invest in. Another aspect that contributed to my engagement during this activity was the simple fact that it was very different than what we do every day. Oftentimes when I fall into a routine, like listening to a teacher for a long time, I tend to forget many details about what happened. The different environment made it much more memorable than an average class, leading to more retention.
    One thing that I think could be improved is the limitless power of the shark’s questions. I felt that some questions the sharks were asking were unfair, as not all of this information is easily accessible. These tough questions only make the presenters look bad. I believe a simple solution would be to make a general question bank, maybe allowing a maximum of 2-3 “wild card” questions that sharks think of on the spot.

  14. Carl

    1. Out of all the inventions that we highlighted, I think that the one that had the most lasting impact on America was the cotton gin. Invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, the cotton gin revolutionized the process of separating seeds from cotton fibers, making cotton production much more efficient. While the immediate impact was a boom in the cotton industry, the long-term consequences were even more significant. The cotton gin played a crucial role in the expansion of cotton cultivation in the United States. This expansion, in turn, fueled the growth of plantation economies and increased the demand for slave labor to work on these cotton plantations. The cotton gin thus became a driving force behind the institution of slavery and intensified sectional tensions between the North and the South, ultimately contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War. The war, in turn, led to the abolition of slavery and the redefinition of the nation. In the long term, the cotton gin’s impact went beyond the economy. The consequences of the cotton gin resonate even today, as the issues of slavery, sectionalism, and the Civil War continue to influence the nation’s identity and challenges.

    2. The tension between capital and labor can be attributed to several factors. One primary reason is the inherent conflict of interest between those who own and control capital and those who provide labor. The interests of these two groups often diverge when it comes to issues such as wages, working conditions, and the distribution of profits. Another factor contributing to the constant tension is the power dynamic between capital and labor. Business owners and capitalists seek to maximize profits, keeping profit margins high, while workers seek higher wages, job security, and improved working conditions. Disparities in bargaining power can lead to exploitative practices, and when workers perceive that they are not receiving a fair share of the economic benefits they help create, tensions rise. Additionally, economic cycles, technological advancements, and globalization can impact the demand for certain skills and industries, leading to job insecurity for workers and, at times, resistance to change from capital. This dynamic is evident in debates over issues like automation, outsourcing, and the gig economy.

    3. In The Shark Tank simulation, me and Will chose to present the telegraph. One good part of the simulation is allowing the sharks to ask their own questions. The research-intensive approach we took in preparation was because we were afraid we might not be able to answer them. This process helped me learn more about our invention and also taught me how to do deep research fast. One way that the simulation could be improved is to make it more similar to a sales pitch by incorporating elements such as cost estimates, future predictions, and more detailed statistics. For example, estimating costs based on historical data or comparable products can provide a reasonable approximation and contribute to a better understanding of the business aspects of the invention. Although finding accurate historical pricing is hard, creating estimates based on related data or materials costs allows us to develop analytical abilities.

  15. Sofia B

    I would say that railroads had the largest impact on America out of the inventions of that time. This is mainly because railroads were able to connect places which lead to a quicker spread of ideas and news. On top of that products could be shipped all over the country for relatively cheap which enlarged the market for that product. It allowed products that certain regions specialized in to be available in other regions.

    There is tension between capital and labor because the owner of the company wants to make the most money possible and that means having the lowest total cost possible. One of the easiest ways to have a lower total cost and still have the same quality product as before is to cut workers salaries. The workers get upset that they are being paid so little especially when the owner/company is making a lot of money and demand to be paid more.

    I was a shark in the simulation. I enjoyed asking questions and learning about the inventions through this specific way. I understand we were crunched for time; however, it would have been fun to argue over the amount of money and percentage. Also, studying the specific inventions was kind of unnecessary because all the sharks tended to ask one question per invention regardless of whether or not they studied it.

  16. Delilah

    I believe that out of all of the 12 inventions that we covered in the Shark Tank simulation, that Cotton gin transformed American society the most. As we can infer and as many historians have studied, slavery was losing much of its momentum in the United States. There weren’t many crops in high demand and lots of people living in the south didn’t have as big a need for slaves. Before cotton gin was created, it took hours to pick a bale of cotton, making other products more useful and worthy of labor. When the cotton gin was created, it sped up the production of cotton, which resulted in the use of more slaves in the south. While cotton gin certainly negatively impacted the lives of over a million people in the US, it is certainly one of the most transformative products of its time.
    The tension between capital and labor has been a long-standing issue. It stems from the different interests and power dynamics between employers, or capital and workers, or the laborers. Capitalists aim to make the most profits, while workers want fair wages and good or better working conditions. This can and has led to conflicts over issues like wages, benefits, and job security. A lot of time, there is a belief that the interests of capitalism or the employers are prioritized over the well-being of workers. Because of this constant divide between the workers and the employers, it creates a larger divide between the two classes, and lessens the level of understanding and relatability between them. It’s important to have open dialogue and find ways to address these tensions, like through collective bargaining or government regulations. Understanding both sides can help bridge the gap and create a more equitable relationship between capital and labor.
    In this simulation I was a Shark, however I was not present in class on the day that we did this activity, so I will answer this question to the best of my ability. One thing that I enjoyed about the Shark Tank simulation was how we actually partook in the roles of Sharks (or inventors). We fully researched and understood multiple different inventions, which is something most would probably not do on their own or in class, so it was learning something that we wouldn’t have otherwise. I don’t think that I have anything that could improve about this simulation because I wasn’t present that day in class, and everything else we did for the project was just researching each of the products.

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