Category Archives: Awesome Academic Projects

Kindness and The Giving Tree

We had the opportunity to catch up with some Grade 3 students and learn about their work with kindness.

Teacher Brandy Garcia shares:

The idea behind the 100 Acts of Kindness is that we’re taking notice of what’s around us, observing closely -as researchers we’re accustomed to this way of life- and hoping to catch something that needs to be done.

To get the kindness ball rolling in the right direction, tomorrow we will share our proposed acts of kindness with one another. When we notice someone else doing something kind, it makes us think about how we have seen or experienced something similar and how we can also take action in a similar way. Once we’ve shared these ideas and proposals for acts of kindness -be they big or small- we all of a sudden are held accountable by our peers as they ask, “Hey, how did that dish drying go yesterday?” “Was it hard to pick up all the trash on your block this week?” Our acts of kindness create a community of kindness because invariably it feels nice to make your community a better place. As one child put it today, “I’m going to make this a habit. It felt really awesome to help my dad and he was super happy!” 

So, in conjunction with our reading of the book Because of Winn Dixie, which portrays a tree with bottles filled with notes of things to hold dear…we will fill our Giving Tree with bottles of love and kindness. Every act celebrated and held dear. 

In the coming days the tree will continue to grow and grow with bottles and kindness.

Student-Driven Science: STEM Night 2018

During the month of January, Grade 8 students followed their scientific passions, created their own experiments, and learned a ton in the process. All of the hard work and investigation concluded Thursday with STEM Night.

The days leading up to STEM Night were an opportunity to go through the science exploration process, consider multiple proposals, then practice failing and trying again through many iterations (in some cases 20+).

All the projects involved energy/force in some way, working in the realms of physics, chemistry, engineering, and robotics.

Science teacher, Ms. Gillian Curran adds:

I provided guiding questions, but they figured everything out themselves. In the month leading up to STEM Night, every student had something they were super engaged with, and was self-driven. As part of the work, each girl was in a research group that figured out the science behind the various projects. During February they will create iBooks about the science topics in their experiments, they will then teach part of the upcoming units. 

Our students delved into the following topics (among others):

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Design Thinking with Power Tools

Grade 8 students in the Design Thinking elective recently ended their semester. They diligently created projects with an emphasis on human-centered design. Human-centered design comes from students working with a client (teacher) to solve a problem. To start the process students needed to first empathize and ask others what their problems were, rather than assuming a preconceived solution. One Hamlin student worked with Ms. Curran to solve the problem of floor space in our science rooms. Together, student and teacher came up with the need for vertical shelving to store laptops.

Creating iterations and prototypes, the student eventually finalized the product design with regular input from the client/teacher. Band, miter, and circular saws, and other tools, were used to make the computer cart (shown in the photo).

-My project was to build a computer cart for the science labs. I was able to work with wood while having fun with my friends. I really liked using power tools and I would definitely do another project like this again in the future.

 

STEMming the Gender Gap 2017

For the 3rd year running, The Hamlin School celebrated STEMming the Gender Gap Day on Friday, December 1. The day was an opportunity to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education/careers for our students, while connecting with female tech leaders in the Bay Area. Hamlin girls had the chance to observe, interact, and learn, as they prepare to be tomorrow’s tech innovators and help #StemGenderGap!

This year Hamlin partnered with a variety of fantastic Bay Area tech companies; we are incredibly thankful for our partnership with these organizations.

We had experiences at:

The Lawrence Hall of Science, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, The Exploratorium, Quizlet, Salesforce, POPSUGAR, Eventbrite, HoneyBook, Smitten, The Tech Museum of Innovation, UCSF, Spring Studio, RobotLAB, Matter of Trust, USS Hornet, SF Cable Car Museum & StoryCorps, and SFMOMA.

The following are some examples of what Hamlin girls engaged in:

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Hamlin Students Explore Cubism

Cubism was an art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture in the early 20th century. The essence of Cubism is that instead of viewing subjects from a single, fixed angle, the artist breaks them up into a variety of areas, so that several different aspects of the subject can be seen simultaneously.

Cubism began in 1906 with two artists, Georges Braque (French) and Pablo Picasso (Spanish) who were living in Paris, France. They were both innovative artists in search of new ways to express space and form in painting. The two worked together closely until World War I broke out in 1914.

Grade 6 students studied the characteristics of Cubism by looking at examples of Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne and Georges Braque.

Students began the project by creating a Cubism inspired drawing from observation. They did this by first drawing lines across the paper to break up the space. Then they drew a ukulele from different vantage points. The drawing was later transferred to canvas. Students incorporated collage with painting, using a limited color palette.

Making A Ukulele

Grade 3 students are making ukuleles with their own hands, hearts, and creativity. Like so much in life, this project began as an idea.

Hamlin music teacher Kate Roseman states:

The idea for the ukulele project came from a conversation I had with Mark Picketts last year. During that conversation, Mark mentioned that there was a project like this at another school, and I got really excited about the potential of bringing it to Hamlin. Originally, I was thinking about doing this project with Grade 4, but when I mentioned it to Brandy (Garcia), she immediately became excited and said we had to do it with Grade 3. Brandy’s enthusiasm and passion has really brought this project to life! Making connections to art and poetry was something I wasn’t even thinking about.

With the help of design and maker teacher, Brian Louie, the vision is now under construction.

Mr. Louie had never made a ukulele before, but he was able to watch Instructable videos about the process and was excited to model taking risks for our students. Mr. Louie knows how to play the ukulele, so he already had a feel for the instrument.

Our students are working through the following to construct the ukuleles:

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Cow Eye Dissection in Grade 4

Grade 4 students are studying how the nervous system and vision are connected. In the unit they are identifying different parts of the eye and how they connect to the brain. Students are dissecting the eye of a cow because it is most similar to that of a human being.

This comprehensive science lesson includes the following (among other components):

-Students take turns holding the eye and observing it.

-Students take turns cutting the eye in half around the sclera.

-Students take turns observing the front of the eye, holding it up to the light and looking through the pupil.

-Students gently remove the lens from the vitreous humor, then look through it.

After the lesson, students have the opportunity to write about their dissection experience in their lab book.

Northern California Fires: Healing Through Writing

Sometimes I write letters to help me feel, to help me think and to help me mend. We tried this today in light of our hearts being so very broken. 
-Hamlin Grade 3 Teacher, Brandy Garcia

Designing Record Album Covers

Recently, grade 4 artists had the opportunity to design their own original artwork for record album covers. The students picked a record title out of a hat and were not allowed to look at the artwork of the real album. The girls were then challenged to design their own cover using the title. During the activity students listened to songs from each album, learning some popular music history along the way.

Building A Story Quilt

Students in Ms. Feldman’s art class are creating story quilts inspired by the work of artist Faith Ringgold.

Faith Ringgold, is a painter, writer, speaker, mixed media sculptor and performance artist who lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey. Ms. Ringgold is professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego where she taught art from 1987 until 2002. Professor Ringgold is the recipient of more than 75 awards including 22 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degrees. 

Ms. Feldman is personally enriched by Ms. Ringgold’s art. She’s an African American woman from Harlem, she was sick as a youngster, I’m inspired by her backstory. She creates art based on who she is, I want students to look at who they are.

The students wrote briefly about two memories, then chose one to sketch out in pencil. Using the sketch, students create a layered visual image from sewed and embroidered felt pieces.

Here is the draft for the work seen above.

These pieces will be displayed on the 1st floor of Stanwood in the coming weeks.

You can watch a brief interview with Faith Ringgold here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Comf9SetjRA&feature=youtu.be