Tag Archives: Engineering

Hamlin Student: Finalist for EngineerGirl Essay Contest

Emily M. (Grade 7) is a finalist for the EngineerGirl essay contest.

Her essay addressed the following prompt:

Tell a story about a person learning to live on a new world while traveling through space.

Learning…A lifelong journey. These are stories from the spaceship Vestigo. Its 20-year journey will take a large group of people from Earth to a new home outside our solar system…

The passengers are from 2- to 50-years-old and will have little contact with Earth. They will have access to books and other resources onboard the ship. Many are experts in different fields.

Vestigo is equipped with artificial gravity and large areas for growing food. Living quarters are like compact apartments.

Everyone onboard will need education and training. They will need to maintain the ship and to prepare for life on a new planet. Most people will need to be skilled in more than one area.

Emily’s essay, “Tides of Learning,” was selected from hundreds of essays that were submitted.

One judge said the following about her essay:

The story is very well-written and creative. I like the author’s idea of duplicating water molecules by combining a droplet with nutrient solution and oxygen. In fact, this could be a realistic technique in the future. In order to make water molecules (H2O), you need oxygen atoms (maybe from oxygen gas) and hydrogen atoms (maybe from a protein isolate like the author proposed) and also an efficient catalyst under proper conditions (like heat) to make them react. The essay shows deep understanding of engineering design ideas.

Contest winners will be notified in May.

For more information about the EngineerGirl Essay Contest, please visit: https://www.engineergirl.org/

Classic Egg Drop Experiment in Grade 4

In Grade 4, our nervous system unit culminates with a classic egg drop experiment. Students work in teams as “helmet companies.” They design “helmets” to protect their raw eggs from a three-story fall onto a concrete surface. So far this year, 100% of the eggs have survived the drop unharmed thanks to some creative engineering!

-Guest post by Science Teacher, Konika Ray

Our Enhanced Technology Program

This August our technology program at Hamlin has expanded. In previous years girls in grades 7 and 8 could only take technology classes as electives. In 2019-2020 students in both grades 7 and 8 will partake in a required yearlong tech exploration. This recommendation for a change emerged from the diligent work of Hamlin’s Technology Advisory Committee. Middle school girls will now have the opportunity to continue their studies in areas like coding, robotics, and the engineering design process.

Jim Lengel (Director of Technology) states:

“Our comprehensive tech program now spans from grades 2 through 8. Girls will walk out of Hamlin knowing how to make a website from scratch.”

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


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:


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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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