Tag Archives: science

Emily Calandrelli: Author and Science TV Host

On November 28, Emily Calandrelli visited Hamlin and spoke with students in grades 1-5.

Emily is an Emmy-nominated science TV host. She’s featured as a correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World and a producer and the host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space. Her first science children’s book series – the Ada Lace Adventures – is now available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Emily’s educational background is in engineering and policy. At West Virginia University she received a bachelors in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She received her Masters from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as Technology and Policy.

Emily is wildly passionate about space exploration. Through her show, she wants to prove that the space industry is more exciting today than ever before in history. As the host, Emily works to explain science-related topics in an easily digestible, and entertaining way.

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Cow Eye Dissection in Grade 4

Grade 4 students are studying how the nervous system and vision are connected. In the unit they are identifying different parts of the eye and how they connect to the brain. Students are dissecting the eye of a cow because it is most similar to that of a human being.

This comprehensive science lesson includes the following (among other components):

-Students take turns holding the eye and observing it.

-Students take turns cutting the eye in half around the sclera.

-Students take turns observing the front of the eye, holding it up to the light and looking through the pupil.

-Students gently remove the lens from the vitreous humor, then look through it.

After the lesson, students have the opportunity to write about their dissection experience in their lab book.

8th Grade Returns to Mountain Lake

After two years the class of 2017 returns to Mountain Lake, deepening their citizen science partnership with the organization, be sure you look for the boards at the lake!

Mountain Lake: A Good Project Indeed

Written by Rose Helm, Middle School Division Head. Originally posted on her blog, At the Helm (password protected).

Last month, I attended a conference held at Lick-Wilmerding High School put on by Project Zero, an education research group out of Harvard University, who describes their research as “investigations into the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, ethics, and other essential aspects of human learning.” In one of the sessions at the conference, I learned about a specific arm of their research spearheaded by Howard Gardner and other intellectual heavyweights, known as “The Good Project.” The Good Project explores the cross section of ethics, excellence, and engagement that combines for what the group calls, good work or “work that is excellent in quality, socially responsible, and meaningful to its practitioners.”

In the group’s research, they discovered that younger people who tended to compromise their core values or integrity in the pursuit of excellence did not see themselves as someone who possessed the ability to challenge the status quo or effect meaningful change. Through reading the case studies from the Good Project’s research, it struck me that these young people who had made choices that compromised their integrity lacked a sense of agency.

Hamlin’s mission statement audaciously states that we aim to inspire our girls to become innovators and leaders. In order to become extraordinary innovators or leaders, Hamlin girls need to have a belief that they have the capacity to act independently and to make their own free choices; they need to possess a sense of agency that is grounded in ethical decision-making, or integrity.

image1 copyA few weeks ago, I visited one of Rachel Davis’s sixth grade science classes and was struck by how the work they are doing in conjunction with the Presidio Trust is providing them with a platform to be innovators and leaders in an ethical decision-making context and fostering in them a sense of agency. For the past several years, the sixth grade has partnered with the Presidio Trust to study the water quality in Mountain Lake; the data collected by our students is actually the Presidio’s key source of information for understanding the state of the water.

Inspired by the conversations in their science classes, two girls in the sixth grade, Ava L. and Mikayla W., attended an open meeting about the problem of San Francisco residents releasing non-native species, such as carp, goldfish, and turtles into the lake. The Presidio Trust’s proposal is to eliminate a non-native species of fish from the lake using a chemical toxin that specifically targets the invasive, non-native species. The girls reported back to the class, and the class read and responded to an article published on SFGate. Scientist Jason Lisenby was so taken by the girls’ passionate interest in this situation that he came to Hamlin to speak directly with the girls Friday, October 24. As a result of his visit, many girls have already taken action by signing the pledge to stop releasing non-native species in the lake.

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That the girls have a voice in this ethical dilemma – poison non-native fish to clear the lake of toxic algae and restore it to a healthy state – is powerful in its own right. But what is perhaps more powerful is to see how their sense of agency in this context increases the engagement of all the students. When I asked the girls about how they felt about doing this work, many remarked about feeling good about doing something for their local community or laying the groundwork for future Hamlin classes that will continue the partnership with the Presidio. The common thread among all their comments was that they saw themselves as making an impact; they saw themselves as leaders and innovators.

In the words of sixth grader Laurel F., Hamlin girls “are participating in, like, a scientific revolution.”

Read more about Howard Gardner and The Good Project.