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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.”

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What would Confuscius do?

What lessons can Jefferson City draw from a closer examination of the culture of Ancient China? On Wednesday, seventh-graders shared their ideas — via PowerPoint presentations on their laptops — with their teacher and other visiting observers.

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