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!
Avery and Samantha’s (8th grade) NASA Experiments just landed yesterday safely in Texas from Space! Their experiments were launched from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in New Mexico up 121,516 ft (23 miles=37 km) above the Earth as part of the Cubes in Space Program. Their experiments had to fit it a cube just 4 centimeters by 4 centimeters!
“The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Remote payload from NASA’s Scientific Balloon Launch Site at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The JPL Remote mission is the third of six planned launches during this year’s fall balloon campaign in New Mexico. JPL Remote is an upper atmosphere research experiment that will help us better understand stratospheric chemistry and the stability of the ozone layer. The payload took flight on a 29.47-million-cubic-foot scientific balloon that, when fully inflated, is roughly the size of 99 blimps.
When the chair people for the eighth grade dinner dance came to me asking if I could help them troubleshoot their idea for creating a gallery of student images – I immediately thought of some seventh grade students and our Riveter Lab tools which I knew would be up to the task.
The problem was given to seventh grade students who took the challenge! They added to the challenge some cardboard, their creativity, our laser cutter, and a little spray paint … and VOILA! An beautiful effect – walking through gorgeous photos floating in the air – was created.
Of course the chairs in their kindness recognized the hard work …