Green Businesses Seek FUTURA Funding at Madison’s Trust

Environmentally friendly start-up businesses got the “Shark Tank” treatment on Friday, January 26th, in Lisa Schmidt’s FUTURA class at Madison’s Trust Elementary.


(The FUTURA program seeks to enhance and to develop the intellect of fourth and fifth grade students who have been formally identified as generally intellectually gifted.)


Students developed a prototype product in November, then spent two months refining it. During the January session, they pitched products to fictional backers such as “Robyn Banks,” who had up to a million fictional dollars to invest. (Schmidt repeatedly warned students that the fictional checks they were issued by the fictional backers should not be taken to a real financial institution.)


Students spoke about production facilities and other business concepts, including corporate espionage, during their financing pitches.


The inventiveness behind the inventions was amazing:

  • There was a leaf catcher that could be positioned at the bottom of trees to catch leaves as they fell in the fall. The leaves could then be turned into compost.
  • Wind power was the featured feature on a wagon that would transport children around town with no sweat involved.
  • There was a biodegradable plastic bag that wouldn’t rot in a landfill for eternity or, worse yet, find its way into the sea.
  • A landscaping robot – the Robosynthesis – is about all one would need to keep the yard in shape. It aerates, plants seeds, waters and provides artificial sunlight for cloudy days. (It also runs on batteries to cut down on polluting emissions.)
  • A dual-filtered radon filter would make sure the deadly gas was trapped for good and not released back into the atmosphere.
  • A desk for financially challenged students featured a desk lamp powered by solar power.