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.
Earlier this week, Ms. O’Brien’s Kindergarten class followed a blueprint, took measurements, and built two ballet barres with the help of Mr. Louie.
Ms. O’Brien shares:
Our class chose dance as their focus for the class emergent study. This study is based on the girl’s questions, observations, and interests. When possible, dance is integrated into all units of study (math, reading, writing, investigations/social studies, and social and emotional learning). In a ‘persuasive writing’ activity, the girls wrote a letter to Mr. Louie requesting his assistance in engineering a ballet barre for our classroom so the girls had a proper space to “warm up.” Mr. Louie accepted and guided the girls throughout the design thinking project.
Below is a photo of the written request from the students to Mr. Louie:
More about our Maker Program:
The Hamlin School Maker Program is designed to deliver moments of impact where girls engage in real world problem solving through Human Centered Design Thinking. Students become problem seekers, focusing on community empathy and collaboration, using ongoing client feedback to drive the direction of their projects. Through their Maker work, our girls work diligently with tools, while developing a new lens by which to see possibility, adaptation, and innovation.
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.
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:
There is so much I love about this unit. It has happened each year I have been at Hamlin, but as it is exemplary student-centered learning in action – it’s as different every year as the students who make the learning happen.
This year Rachel Davis did an incredible job in documenting the work and reflections of the Grade 1 students and their teachers, enjoy –
Thanks to all the teachers that came together and designed this learning experience!
Under the leadership of Mark Picketts, Hamlin’s Director of Program Innovation and Professional Development, teachers have been exploring and learning this year through inquiry projects that they personally design. As action researchers, teachers use data, research, and reflection to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. All teachers who participate in the Inquiry Project Year will share their findings with their colleagues at a year-end celebration of learning.
As part of her inquiry year, physical education teacher Terry McDonald created a dynamic project that allowed 2nd graders to design their own miniature golf courses. With the help of funds from Hamlin’s Raise the Paddle, Ms. McDonald was able to purchase mini-golf starter kits, she then partnered with Urban Putt in San Francisco so students could conduct research at their facility, while playing a round. The golf project integrated disciplines, combining technology, student-made video tutorials, tracking the design process via their iPads, while incorporating the geometric angles of math, all within the context of sport. Through the project, students were able to learn about golf, golf etiquette, while collaborating to make their courses as challenging as possible.
Directive: design a piece that could be given to a loved one during the holidays. Students were allowed to look at websites like Instructables for inspiration, but if they chose to download a template they had to modify the design in a significant way.
Following Grade 4’s Stem the Gender Gap field trip to NASA, we launched the Wind Tube project. In groups of 6, students built a wind tube using wood, plastic, tape, and a fan. Next challenge = build and test flying structures!