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Middle School Students to Present Invention at Smithsonian - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Middle School Students to Present Invention at Smithsonian

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Middle school engineering students in Charlottesville and Albemarle County are getting ready to present an invention to the Smithsonian Museum Thursday. It's part of an innovative program developed in collaboration with the University of Virginia.

This one-of-a-kind program takes advanced engineering principles and attempts to incorporate them into middle school curriculum. As a result, the students have created a working bell chime - complete with circuits, electromagnets, and linear motors. Students created the set of chimes in just eight days. Now, they're putting it on the national stage.

"All those things that we learned - solenoids, linear motors, electromagnets, circuits, engineering, and then you use it to make this big, giant thing that we're going to be presenting to the Smithsonian,” said Cole Fairchild, Buford eighth-grader.

This camp is an extension of the Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing Program that teachers at both Buford and Sutherland middle schools debuted this past year. They say it's a learning process on both sides.

"The kids are doing all this work exploring these innovations and making them to ring these chimes, and the teachers who are helping them, and we're all in groups. We're learning how to incorporate this into middle school curriculum, by making things instead of just reading about things,” said eighth-grade science teacher Robbie Munsey.

The program was developed through collaboration with UVA’s Curry School of Education. Curry School professor Glenn Bull says this is the first time this has ever been attempted on the eighth-grade level.

"There's not a manual of how to do this anywhere, no one’s done it before, so the teachers are collaborating with the students to co-construct this knowledge, and when they're done, they'll have solid lesson plans, solid activities, solid assessments,” said Bull.

The hope is to get the lesson plans developed here to spread across the nation.

The students are presenting their invention to Albemarle County and Charlottesville superintendents Wednesday night. Thursday morning , they're off to Washington, D.C. to let Smithsonian curators have a look.

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