Tag Archives: science

Raising Trout in Lower School Science

Lower school students are learning about the fragile lifecycle of fish through their participation in a program called Trout in the Classroom.

Trout in the Classroom is a community-based program which allows students to experience first hand the delicate balance needed for animals to survive in aquatic ecosystems. Using eggs provided by a hatchery, classes set-up and maintain an aquarium for the purpose of observing the development of fish from the eyed-egg stage until they become young fry. Students engage in a course of study which supports the learning experience across curriculum area. This program is run cooperatively by local schools, fishing clubs and government agencies.

Objectives:

-Provide a positive learning program for classrooms on the value of aquatic ecosystems through the hatching and release of trout.

-Help students learn about their local watershed and how human activities affect the quality of water in local streams, lakes and the bay.

The 50 healthy trout eggs were received (two have died) and will hatch in the coming days. Once hatched, the fish will have their pure spring water changed twice a week, with a carefully monitored feeding schedule. Throughout the process students will see firsthand the various life stages of the trout as they move from embryonic, to hatching, to larval, to becoming juveniles.

On March 27 students are planning to go to Lake Merced in San Francisco to release the trout.

To learn more about this program, please visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/CAEP/R3

Hamlin Achieves High Mark At San Francisco Science Fair

Katie F. recently won 3rd place at the San Francisco Science Fair. Her work was selected from nearly 3,000 projects completed at schools across the city. Below is an overview of her project in her own words (lightly edited):

My goal is to find an affordable, simple, unlimited resource that can be used to filter contaminated water and give people all over the world access to clean water. After volunteering at Matter of Trust, a non-profit based in San Francisco that tackles the detrimental crisis of oil spills in our oceans using hair mats, I wondered if hair might be able to filter contaminants within dirty drinking water.

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Doctors Visit Lower School Science

Dr. Kim Garfinkel (a Hamlin parent and OB/GYN) visited Grade 4 scientists at the end of their Human Life Cycle unit. Dr. Garfinkel answered questions from the Curiosity Box, shared pictures to deepen understanding, and peaked the students’ interest with anecdotes from her personal and professional experiences. Ms. Ray, Ms. Gonzalez, and the Grade 4 learners are so thankful to have hosted Dr. Garfinkel in their Science classes.

As a culmination of our Human Life Cycle Unit in Grade 3, students hosted two guest scientists and also Hamlin parents. Dr. Kim Newell and Dr. Lesley Meister visited the LS Science Lab to answer questions from our Curiosity Box. Dr. Newell, a pediatrician, covered the topic of puberty. Dr. Meister, an OB/GYN, discussed fetal growth/development, and childbirth. Ms. Ray, Ms. Gonzalez, and all of the Grade 3 learners are filled with gratitude to have had the opportunity to learn from these experts.

-Guest post by Ms. Irene Gonzalez

 

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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