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SUIS Holds “Invention Convention”

May, 2014
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suis-invention-conventionThomas Edison once said, “There’s a way to do it better – find it.” Grade 4 classes at Shanghai United International School (SUIS) took on the challenge.

On 18 March, SUIS held its first ‘Invention Convention’. According to Lily, a student participant, “We found a machine and learned how it works, and then made up a new machine from it.” This spirit of innovation was on full display at the convention, which dominated the campus’ Xiehe building for the day.

Explaining why her class hosted the convention, a student named Jiwoo said, “Inventions make other people comfortable.” With this philanthropic mindset, participating students displayed everything from automatic desk cleaning devices to modern windmills and a 21st century crossbow. The SUIS Grade 4 class created and exhibited all kinds of stuff you might think of in some way, shape, or form.

As parents, educators and school principals mingled with conventioneers, teacher Derek Lee explained the inter-disciplinary nature of the IB PYP project on behalf of his colleagues: “Students had the central idea of investigating how inventions over time made society more efficient. They then used historical research skills to learn more about a machine of their choice, applied their knowledge of mechanical engineering and their scientific learning on potential and kinetic energy, power sources, friction and gravity to build their own working machine.”

Finally, to the awe of convention guests, students had the opportunity to describe how their creation worked using scientific language, primarily in English, but also in Chinese and other languages to their parents and guests. Creativity was not the only thing on display. SUIS’ global, “East meets West” character helped the event shine even brighter.

A day at the SUIS Invention Convention was a reminder to all that innovation, as Steve Jobs put it, is “about the people.” 


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