Tag Archives: science

5th Grade Forum Extravaganza

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.

Engaging Science: STEM Night 2019

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):

-3D Hologram

-Battery Coil Train

-Kinetic Sand

-Steel Wool and Batteries

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Dissection in Lower School Science

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.

Citizen Science at Mountain Lake

On Monday, Grade 6 students had their first visit of the school year to Mountain Lake in San Francisco.

The Hamlin School is situated within the urban confines of San Francisco. However, every year students have the opportunity to spend intensive days studying nature, collecting data, and participating in ongoing research work.

This hands on encounter with ecology takes place at Mountain Lake, a natural 1,700-year-old freshwater pond. “The area around Mountain Lake is home to 250 species of birds, 30 species of butterflies, 50 species of mammals, and more federally protected species than any other national park in the continental United States.” Spanish explorers who went on to settle San Francisco spent their first night camped by the lake in 1776.

In more recent years it was discovered that the entire lake was polluted. This was caused by dirty water run off from a nearby road, pesticides from the adjacent golf course, and people dumping non-native fish and turtles into the lake. The situation became so dire that the Presidio Trust had to kill all the fish in the lake with 50 gallons of rotenone, an odorless, colorless, poison. Once the water quality was restored, the Presidio Trust reintroduced non-invasive species better suited for the Mountain Lake environment.

Through the diligent work of faculty member Rachel Davis, Hamlin has been partnered with the Presidio Trust for a number of years. “The Presidio Trust is an innovative federal agency created to save the Presidio, (once a premier U.S. Army post) and share it with the public as a vibrant national park site.”

Over the years Hamlin students have:

-Collected data on birds for migration patterns

-Collected data on plants in order to look at climate change

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Grade 4 Visits the Hiller Aviation Museum

Earlier this week, Grade 4 students had the opportunity to visit the Hiller Aviation Museum. Students learned about various facets of aviation, including the science behind flight, and the history of several planes and helicopters. Our girls also had the chance to participate in flight simulation programs.

The Mission of the Hiller Aviation Museum is:

We use aviation as a gateway to embrace innovation and adventure while using tools of science to explore how the physical world works and how the dream of flight is made into reality.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.hiller.org/

 

Science Students Turn Tissue into Art

Students in Grade 7 have been studying tissue in science. They examined slides for the following tissue types: epithelial, muscle, connective, and nervous. As part of an interdisciplinary project, students selected one slide, then created a painting based on what they observed.

The above painting is titled Ocean of Spiders. The tissue type is nervous. These cells are located in the brain. The tissue reminded the artist of raindrops and spiders. The artist characterized the tissue this way:

It is dyed with silver. The neuron has a circular core that has one long branch that sends messages, and a lot of tiny branches that receive messages.

These fascinating paintings are currently on display in front of our middle school science classrooms.

 

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:

Brainstorm:

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The Hamlin Ocean: Merging of Art & Science

The Hamlin Ocean is an interdisciplinary, cross grade level collaboration of young artists and scientists created for this year’s Ocean Awareness eco-theme.

Using recyclable materials, Kindergarten artists created papier maché sea turtles, penguins, dolphins, and seals. In science class, they learned about the layers of the ocean, and made intertidal zone animals.

First Grade scientists sewed bioluminescent fish with adaptations for survival using copper tape, LED lights, coin cell batteries, and felt. In art class, they designed ceramic dolphin and penguin bells.

Second Grade artists designed bioluminescent jellyfish using recycled vinyl and paper lanterns. In science, they experimented with neutral buoyancy and plankton.

Using recycled cardboard and paint, Third Grade artists engineered sea creatures in relief sculpture. In science, they added circuitry to the sculptures using copper tape, LED stickers, and coin cell batteries.

Fourth Grade artists studied the texture and shape of starfish and created ceramic starfish sculptures. In science, they learned about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s ocean exploration and used Book creator, Pages, or Canva to make posters with inspiring quotes and facts.

This beautifully intricate display will be showing in Mckinne Lounge through our Earth Day celebration on April 27.

You can see the underwater world in this video:

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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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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