Category Archives: Awesome Academic Projects

Grade 2 Creates a Living Wall

When Ms. O’Brien moved into her new classroom, she looked out the window at the back of the climbing wall and the colorful mural and got inspiration for a living wall project. Ms. Ray had just returned from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she had visited an amazing living wall at a nonprofit called “Vertical Harvest” and she thought a living wall sounded like a wonderful science/maker collaboration.

Ms. O’Brien. Ms. Ray, and Mr. Louie met to put this idea into motion. Planning out the project provided several rich opportunities for problem solving, such as using measurement skills to see where the wall would fit, figuring out how to provide sunlight and water for the plants, and how to protect the wood finish from water damage.

First, the 2nd graders worked with Mr. Louie in small groups to laser cut their name and an image of a flower onto a wooden panel. Then, they used clamps for woodworking and special glue to construct their boxes. In science class, they planted succulents in pots and carefully arranged rocks and shells around them to create miniature gardens. Ms. Lovejoy and Ms. Davis donated the succulent plants.

Phase one of the project is located in classroom 2OA while the girls finish planting their succulents. Phase two will be located in the lower school entry foyer across from Ms. Yeung’s desk. For the final phase of the project, the living wall will be mounted behind the climbing wall outside. This project is a wonderful example of the collaborative spirit that organically surrounds us at Hamlin every day.

Spanish Students Interpret Artwork

Grade 7 Hamlin Spanish students recently created a museum of Hispanic artists. Girls researched the lives of various artists and then wrote about one work of art and created a short biography about the life of their artist, employing art history vocabulary along with the use of the past tense. As part of the interdisciplinary Spanish and Art project, students role-played as Hispanic artists, interviewing each other about what inspired and defined their artwork. For the creative part of the project, students had the freedom to write a poem, take a photograph or paint a work of art similar to the original piece.

Above, Ava’s painting is on the left and Noé Canjura’s is on the right.

More of these beautiful art pieces are on display in the East Dining Room.

Science Students Turn Tissue into Art

Students in Grade 7 have been studying tissue in science. They examined slides for the following tissue types: epithelial, muscle, connective, and nervous. As part of an interdisciplinary project, students selected one slide, then created a painting based on what they observed.

The above painting is titled Ocean of Spiders. The tissue type is nervous. These cells are located in the brain. The tissue reminded the artist of raindrops and spiders. The artist characterized the tissue this way:

It is dyed with silver. The neuron has a circular core that has one long branch that sends messages, and a lot of tiny branches that receive messages.

These fascinating paintings are currently on display in front of our middle school science classrooms.

 

Demonstrating Leadership: Symposium in Grade 6

Symposium is the intensive for our Grade 6 students Intensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

In Ancient Greece, a Symposium was a regular meeting where men discussed problems. Today, a symposium is a formal meeting where multiple specialists deliver short addresses on a topic.

The Symposium presented topics focused on this year’s theme empathy + knowledge= hope. The event took place at the Century Club and shared information about: personal and social identity, the concept of privilege, the partition of India, access to water in India and various countries in Africa, human trafficking, the danger of a single story, women micro-entrepreneurs and their roles in developing Africa, the Cultural Revolution, representation of women and people of color in Hollywood, the role of education, the role of propaganda in government, and globalization.

Alice shares: For our final unit, we devoted ourselves to creating today’s show. Individually, we considered the many topics we could go into greater depth about, and we got sorted into our small groups with a specific presentation format to follow. We studied our kind of presentation, making sure we understood the ways that song lyrics or PSA imagery or a 21/20 episode are strongest and have greatest impact. We researched our topic in depth, and we put together a draft of our presentation. Next, we revised and revised our work — and then reconsidered and revised it some more. 

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Hamlin Builds Furniture for Homeless Families

A dedicated and altruistic group of Grade 8 students recently made high quality furniture pieces for Hamilton Families. Hamilton Families is a leading service provider to homeless families, with an array of highly effective programs at sites in San Francisco and Oakland.

This project was spearheaded by Hamlin math teacher, Sheena Tart-Zelvin. She shares:

As a means of launching the school year and framing the material we would be learning, the Integrated Geometry class spent the first few days of school brainstorming ways in which they could use their math skills to benefit the San Francisco community. The idea that won out in the end was to build pieces of furniture and donate them to organizations that provide housing like Hamilton Families.

In the second trimester students learned about the 5 forces of engineering, explored the basics of woodworking, designed a piece of furniture they could build, and sketched the design with all of its measurements. This preparation allowed the students to start building on day one of trimester 3. That is when Mr. Louie (Maker Teacher) joined the project and worked closely with the girls as they measured pieces of wood, used power tools, sanded, painted, and slowly but surely brought their vision to life.

The following items were made: a coat hanger and bench, a kitchen cart, a desk, a table with two chairs, and a desk that folds up and hangs from a wall. We are planning on delivering the furniture this week.

To learn more about our Maker Program, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/program/technology-and-innovation/maker-program

 

Hamlin Kindergarteners Make A Bakery

A Hamlin Kindergarten class (Ortiz/Burnett) has been focusing their emergent class study on baking. This study is based on student interest through questions, observations, and curiosity. When possible, baking has been integrated into various aspects of class, including math, science, and writing. The girls have also been baking bread all year long with a bread-making machine.

Their study culminated with creating an actual bakery. Rainbow the Bakery opened June 1, and will be operating during the early part of this month. The girls have been busy refining their baking skills and are very excited to share their passion with customers.

The money raised from the items purchased at Rainbow the Bakery will be donated to Cake4Kids. Cake4Kids is a nonprofit in the Bay Area that provides birthday cakes for children in youth programs who would not otherwise have the opportunity for such a treat. Part of their mission is to: Bake and deliver custom birthday cakes to underprivileged children. We raise children’s self-esteem by simply showing we care.

To learn more about Cake4Kids please visit: http://www.cake4kids.org/

 

Jan Micha Women in History Presentations

When you walk in the footsteps of greatness, you too can become great. For 30 years Grade 4 Hamlin students have taken the stage in front of their peers and parents, giving voice to inspiring women who came before them.

For this project students select a woman from history, do extensive research from multiple sources, then embody that person, presenting in character with substance, poise and eloquence. When Hamlin alumnae come back to visit they often cite their Women in History presentation as an enduring hallmark of their education. Our students presented to their peers yesterday, and will be in front of their parents tonight at the Century Club.

This year girls are representing the following women:

Suffragists & Abolitionists

Elizabeth Key Grinstead (1630)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815)
Victoria Woodhull (1838)

Educators, Writers, & Journalists

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860)
Nellie Bly (1864)
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867)
Julia Child (1912)
Dr. Temple Grandin (1947)

Women of Flight

Hazel Ying Lee (1912)
Maggie Gee (1923)
Dr. Sally Ride (1951)

Scientists & Mathematicians

Rachel Carson (1907)
Dian Fossey (1932)
Sylvia Earle (1935)
Grace Hopper (1906)
Katherine Johnson (1918)

Visual & Performing Artists

Julia Morgan (1872)
Lucille Ball (1911)
Audrey Hepburn (1929)
Maria Tallchief (1925)
Misty Copeland (1982)
Michaela DePrince (1995)

Athletes

Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1911)
Althea Gibson (1927)
Wilma Rudolph (1940)
Kit Deslauriers (1969)
Kristi Yamaguchi (1971)
Mia Hamm (1972)
Dominique Dawes (1976)
Michelle Kwan (1980)
Natalie Coughlin (1982)
Alex Morgan (1989)
Michelle Sung Wie (1989)
Bethany Hamilton (1990)
Aly Raisman (1994)

Entrepreneurs

Charlotte Parkhurst (1812)
Oprah Winfrey (1954)
Elizabeth Skidmore (1965)

Leaders

Deborah Sampson (1760)
Mary Bowser (1839)
Betty Reid Soskin (1921)
Diane Nash (1938)
Abigail Adams (1744)
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884)
Michelle Obama (1964)

Below is a video clip of Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

 

San Francisco Storytellers Visit With Grade 2

Monday morning seven vibrant San Francisco natives gathered to speak with Grade 2 students. Our girls are learning about the history of San Francisco as part of their social studies curriculum. Speakers shared fond memories, describing how various neighborhoods have both changed and stayed the same.

Madeline Hancock, West Portal:

Ms. Hancock spoke about her parents buying their house for $26,000 in 1958, riding streetcars for 10 cents, and Shaw’s Ice Cream and Candy Shop (which is still there!).

Natalie Holland ’98, Bayview, Excelsior, Mt. Davidson, Outer Sunset, Lakeview, Inner Mission:

Ms. Holland spoke about taking ballet at the Bayview Opera House, gardening in the Sunset, and the murals in the Mission.

Helen Ortiz ’03, The Castro:

Ms. Ortiz spoke about how her neighbors were like family, going to the Castro Theatre for sing-alongs, and riding on the Seward Street Slides.

Judy Ching, Chinatown, The Richmond:

Ms. Ching spoke about the construction of the Broadway Tunnel, the Chinatown telephone company with switchboard operators (where her mother worked), and how Chinese people weren’t always welcome to purchase homes outside of the Chinatown area.

Charlee Underwood, Hayes Valley:

Ms. Underwood spoke about playing outside with all of her friends in the neighborhood, and how there are fewer families now in Hayes Valley.

Ann Kung, The Richmond:

Ms. Kung spoke about getting bread from the Boudin Bakery and playing softball with neighborhood kids in front of the library, she also mentioned that the Richmond has more Asian restaurants now.

Lisa Aquino, The Sunset:

Ms. Aquino spoke about how San Francisco has a small town feeling and that natives are often interconnected, she also mentioned that many people have moved out because of the high cost of living.

After each native spoke, Grade 2 students asked several thoughtful questions about San Francisco history, favorite landmarks, and neighborhood celebrations.

 

 

Designing an Earthquake Proof Home

San Francisco is situated in earthquake country with two historic quakes that took place in 1906 and 1989. Innovative science and engineering bring more protections to our urban structures.

Grade 6 students have been studying the science of earthquakes and are getting ready to design earthquake proof houses.

Below is their assignment:

Congratulations! You have just been selected to design a new house or building in San Francisco. You have only $500 to spend on your new house or building. It must be at least 30 cm tall, be two stories and have weight (6 washers) at every level (2nd story, roof). Each story needs to be at least 15 cm tall. 

You will have the following materials to build from:

Brick (sugar cubes) $5

Metal Ties (pipe cleaners) $15.00

Wood (sticks or straws) $2.00

Marbles: $25

No cost: Glue-you will be given a specific amount.

Please include all of the following in this lab!

Identify Problem:

Brainstorm:

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Tea With Inspiring Women

On May 10, Grade 4 students brought the lives of inspiring women to Hamlin, showcasing in-depth knowledge, accents, and costumes.  Students selected a woman from history, did extensive research from multiple sources, and then embodied that person at a table with tea and treats.

The conversation was guided by a series of thoughtful questions addressing everything from education to important life events, and even embarrassing moments. Girls sat in groups of four at tables. Guidelines for the discussion included: Have fun, See what you have in common with the other inspiring women, stay on topic, stay in the personality of your inspiring woman, react to what each other is saying.

Women from various eras were represented including (among others): Abigail Adams, Oprah Winfrey, Sylvia Earle, and Michelle Kwan.

Next week these students will have the opportunity to formally present as their women for our Jan Micha Women In History Program.

The video below shares a slice of the tea and conversation: