What would Confuscius do?

Thomas Jefferson Middle School seventh-grader Deve Scoffield watches as his social studies teacher Ashley Schlender evaluates his presentation on the comparison of ancient Chinese social classes to the current economic situation in the United States on Wednesday. Using a teaching method called “project-based learning,” Schlender posed the question to her students, “What big ideas from ancient China can be used to improve Jefferson City.”

Thomas Jefferson Middle School seventh-grader Deve Scoffield watches as his social studies teacher Ashley Schlender evaluates his presentation on the comparison of ancient Chinese social classes to the current economic situation in the United States on Wednesday. Using a teaching method called “project-based learning,” Schlender posed the question to her students, “What big ideas from ancient China can be used to improve Jefferson City.” Photo by Kris Wilson.

What lessons can Jefferson City draw from a closer examination of the culture of Ancient China?

That was the premise posed to a group of seventh-graders at Thomas Jefferson Middle School this fall. On Wednesday, the pre-teens shared their ideas — via five-minute PowerPoint presentations on their laptops — with their teacher and other visiting observers.

One team argued paying more attention to the teachings of Confucius could improve the way Jefferson Citians interact with one another.

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