Guest post by Ms. Jennifer Phillips, Kindergarten
As one of our final field trips for our emergent unit on bones, we visited Dr. Lane’s (Mackenzie’s mom) medical office where Dr. Jones (Kaia’s dad) joined us as we learned more about what they do and the tools they use to help people.
Kaia’s dad, an orthopedic surgeon, brought some actual pieces of bone for the girls to examine, as well as some models of bones, and hardware/tools he uses when repairing the bones of his patients. Dr. Lane, a fertility specialist, gave each girl an ultrasound of their arm, pointing out the layers of their bones seen on the screen and how their bones connect. Each girl left with a copy of her ultrasound.
Our study has been a cross-curricular endeavor, with Kate Roseman teaching the girls a song/rap about bones, Mrs. Gonzalez and Ms. Ray deepening the girls’ understanding of bones with their scientific expertise, and Mr. Witrak and Ms. Stevens lending us the bones from the Lascaux cave in McKinne lounge for our Georgia O’Keeffe inspired artwork.
Our culminating project will be a “Bones Bonanza” in June where the girls will be able to share their knowledge and work with their families.
Each year, we host a Making/Tinkering event for all Grade 5 students and their families. Last night, students completed Catalyst challenges, built circuits using littleBits, showcased their Scratch games with Makey Makeys, and programmed Sphero robots! The Grade 5 teachers and the tech team worked together to create a wonderful learning experience and an engaging community event for our Grade 5 families.
Grade 1 students have spent much of their school year exploring San Francisco and the people who live in our city. Students began by asking, how can we demonstrate good citizenship in our local community? Girls took walks around the Hamlin neighborhood in order to: make observations, think about the needs of a community, and speak with people who live and work nearby. 1st graders looked at different kinds of maps, made their own maps, and followed maps on the neighborhood walks. The girls also had an opportunity to explore their own home neighborhoods and teach their peers about what they discovered through creating poster boards with photos.
On April 9, the project culminated with girls showing their 3 dimensional map of the local neighborhood, complete with QR codes, which allowed visitors to learn more via their mobile phones.
On March 28, The Hamlin School held an incredible interdisciplinary learning extravaganza known as 5th Grade Forum. The event was well attended by Hamlin parents who were eager to learn from their daughters. 5th Grade Forum is the first of the Intensives for Middle School. 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. Grade 6 students will participate in a Symposium, Grade 7 in Rise to the Challenge, and Grade 8 students will put on an entire musical.
For the Forum, Grade 5 students were divided into groups based on geographic regions of the United States. Once in their groups, students set out to become regional experts through a project based learning approach. The Forum incorporated various facets of the following disciplines: Humanities, Math, Science, Art, and Music. During the month-long exploration, students had the opportunity to create collages, videos, math problems, poems, spoken word, and detailed magazines with comprehensive articles. The magazines covered some of the following topics: History, Current Events, Travel, Animals, Sports, Environment, Food, Art, Economy, Cities, and Entertainment. During the Forum our students showcased their poised public speaking skills in front of dozens of parents.
A talented team of Hamlin girls created the film Our Ocean as part of their Grade 5 intensive work last spring. This coming Sunday the film will be shown at the Cowell Theater (10 a.m. at Fort Mason) as part of the International Ocean Film Festival.
Now in its 16th year, the IOFF is an acclaimed festival of independent ocean-related films from all over the world. Themes range from ocean adventure, science, and marine life to sports and coastal cultures. We look for films that not only entertain audiences but also educate and inspire people to participate in environmental efforts in and around the ocean, as well as promote better ocean stewardship.
The student film explores the importance of the ocean and delves into the crucial environmental threats that it currently faces. Our Ocean blends beauty and splendor, with a call to action, echoing Hamlin’s mission to meet the challenges of our time.
To learn more about the International Ocean Film Festival, please visit: http://intloceanfilmfest.org/
To watch the film, please click on this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VgRFi4lfxzs-aUhe9zVBvFoEnAw1T3Oo/view
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 15+).
All the projects involved energy/force in some way, working in the realms of physics, chemistry, and engineering.
Science teacher, Ms. Gillian Curran adds:
This year, there was a special new addition- the 4th grade presented “The Physics of Sound” in the Riveter Lab. The big and little sisters were able to share their projects with each other earlier in January and both grades presented on STEM Night together. The 8th and 4th grade girls really enjoyed connecting with each other around science.
Our students delved into the following projects (among others):
-Battery Coil Train
-Steel Wool and Batteries
Throughout the academic year students in Grade 4 engage in dynamic public speaking in front of the entire Lower School, along with parents and faculty. Girls talk about some of their favorite things, share specifics about one topic in particular, then take 3 questions from the audience.
Today, girls spoke about the following:
Liliana spoke about her love of waterskiing.
Paige spoke about her love of surfing.
Sasha spoke about her love of baking.
Georgia spoke about her love of singing and then performed “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift.
For many girls, this is the biggest speaking event of their lives so far. They practice, work through nerves, and ultimately thrive from the experience. In the coming days another group of Grade 4 students will have the opportunity to take the stage and be VIP speakers.
Grade 1 scientists performed their very first dissection last week as a culmination of their adaptations unit. The girls dissected a squid and observed the beak, ink sac, tentacles with suction cups, chromatophores for camouflage, fins, and siphon. They even used a part of squid anatomy called the pen to write with the ink. Squid pens, or gladii, are the vestigial internal shell of squid. They’re used primarily to support squids’ muscular tissues and organs. The flexible pen allows for jet propulsive swimming. Squeals of joy filled the room as several young scientists exclaimed, “this is the best day of my life!”
Another group of impressive young scientists completed their cow eye dissection last week. As part of the learning, we had an incredibly engaging guest speaker, Dr. Krista Ramonas. The girls were so inspired by her presentation. They asked many thought-provoking questions and approached the dissection with the maturity and interest of true scientists. They said their favorite parts were the tapetum lucidum, optic nerve, vitreous humor, and lens.
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.
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.