Dirty water? Waste in the streets? Uncomfortable beds? These were some of the problems facing American colonists and English citizens living in the 1600s.
Recently, Chesterfield Day School fourth-graders were able to apply their understanding of life in the 1600s to the development of a new product that would have enhanced the quality of life in that era.
After researching and identifying a specific need, students worked in small groups to compile information about the time period, better understand the materials that were available in the 1600s and craft a solution to a particular problem. Inventions varied from ways to filter water and new approaches to providing outdoor lighting, to a new method of creating softer mattresses.
Once an invention prototype was developed, the fourth-graders pitched their products to a group of “sharks” much like the TV show “Shark Tank.” The investors listened to the presentations, asked questions, and made the decision whether or not they wanted to invest. The investor panel included local experts such as Lorri Glover, the John Francis Bannon, S.J., Professor of History at Saint Louis University.
Glover commented that she “admired the students’ confidence, their teamwork and their zeal for colonial history. It was so exciting to see the students showcase their creativity and research skills in such an imaginative project.”