A2 Charter School student spent time over the last months learning about the invention process in an integrated experience called The Invention Convention. The students researched inventors and inventions of the past, and developed an idea to meet a need, to solve a problem, or to entertain. Students were required to investigate whether their idea already existed before they developed a model of their creation. Students advertised their inventions in commercials that modeled different propaganda techniques to their classmates and teachers, Mrs. Kathy Nelesen and Mrs. Sandy Spatt. The students presented the work to their families at A2 Student-led Parent Teacher Conferences. Finally, the inventions were put on display in the Jackson/A2 library for all to enjoy.
When asked to discuss the learning that took place during the course of the months-long process, fourth grade students identified a variety of insights and learning progress. Harrison S. reported increasing his comfort as he talked in front of groups after doing the many presentations associated with his Bouncy Ball Yoyo. Brooks W. was happily surprised when his research failed to reveal a toothbrush exactly like the electric model he proposed that comes with an automatically loading toothpaste feature. It proved to him that even in today's world it is still possible to have new ideas. Robby H. commented, "I had to apply past knowledge to the strategies I used to figure out information about the inventors." Lejla G. said of her robotic house-cleaner, "There are so many steps involved in the whole invention process." Helen F. summed up the learning she achieved while creating her automatic lost item finder by saying, "Inventing is not as easy as it seems."
Fifth grader, Keith B., who submitted a plan for a computer that was charged by operator action commented, "Inventing is a hard process," Mackenzie M. added, "There is a lot of thinking needed just to even figure out how the invention would work."
A2 science teacher, Sandy Spatt, was particularly pleased with the level of student research. She said, "Students were very thorough in investigating their ideas using a variety of sources to methodically learn about their individual topics."
The A2 Charter School is in its fourth year of operation in the Sheboygan Area School District. It is an accelerated school for self-directed fourth and fifth graders that is located at 2530 Weeden Creek Road. The school shares facilities with Jackson Elementary School.