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Sunshine Follows This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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      It is common knowledge that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Less well known is the fact that he failed 6,000 times before succeeding. I appreciate success as well as failure because failure can lead us to more experiences.

As a sophomore, I joined a technology and invention group. We chose to focus on environmental protection and zeroed in on studying paint materials that resulted in little or no pollution. At this time, many paint materials contain deadly benzene and formaldehyde. We found that some fruits, including apples and pineapples, have effective materials that could eliminate those harmful chemicals.

We did lots of online research and experiments, devoting many Sundays to learning. Our chemistry teachers also helped and made the experimental room available to us.

Our first plan was to use fresh fruits to defeat harmful chemicals. We collected pineapple peels from a fruit market and after days of experiments found that we were not on the right track because fresh fruit goes bad easily and only had a temporary effect. Plus, the smell of the fruit covered the smell of pollutant chemicals, which made it hard to know whether or not they were absorbed.

We continued studying and continued failing, but the failure gave us the inspiration to improve. In order to achieve better results before the annual competition, we worked for many hours, even into the night. We kept discussing, cooperating and improving. Finally, we devised another plan to extract the effective substances from the fruits and make them into a chemical preparation. We made a metal box outside those effective matters. A small electric fan was placed inside, which helped diffuse the essential chemicals, and that worked!

Problems were solved and difficulties overcome. After five months, we had finally created a machine that could kill many varieties of bad materials in those pollutant paints. This invention won second prize at the annual provincial technology and invention competition and we applied for a national patent. We were especially honored because we were the only sophomores to win a prize.

This memorable experience taught us not to be afraid of failure. Instead, we should use failure productively to help us discover our weak points. We did a lot of work but still failed using the original plan. However, we did not give up. Instead, we discovered factors that led to failure and tried to overcome them. At last, we did.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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