Edgefield County schools desire to educate their students to become world-class citizens. In order to achieve this, the district outlined characteristics, skills, and goals students would need to be successful. These include the ability to identify a problem, analyze it, and persevere in solving it; embracing curiosity and risk-taking; taking initiative; the ability to gain new information from multiple sources; and using effective communication. A seventh grade social studies teacher at Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton (J-E-T) Middle School, Ms. Christy Caldwell, decided to apply these goals through project-based learning when she had her students create their own inventions after studying the Industrial Revolution.

Caldwell was excited to talk about this project. She explained that she based this on an event called Convention Invention at which kids present inventions and some even get patented. She told her students that they needed to invent something that would make life better for themselves or their families, that they had to research the problem they were trying to solve, and that they would present to their classmates. She was thoroughly impressed with the results. One student invented a new way to water plants, one invented an oysters cleaner, one created a revolving organizer, one improved on fidgets by using parts of clothespins to create one that doesn’t make noise, another found a way to help students who are always dropping their pencils, and the list goes on. Caldwell remarked, “The students learned a lot about research, how hard it is to make something original, and the work involved when you have to do it all by yourself.”

Photo caption: Student inventor demonstrating his oyster cleaner

Pictured left to right: Nathan Quarles, James Creasy, Ben Jolly, inventor Jackson Smith

For more information and school news, please visit the J-E-T website, http://jet.edgefield.k12.sc.us , or the school’s Facebook page, Johnston Edgefield Trenton Middle School, and PTO Facebook page, JET PTO.