Exploring the United States with 5th Grade Forum

On March 29, Hamlin 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, while Grade 8 students will put on an entire musical (Legally Blonde this year).

For the Forum, Grade 5 students were divided into 3 groups based on geographic regions of the United States: Northeast, Midwest, and West. 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, math problems, poems, spoken word, and detailed magazines with comprehensive articles.

The magazines had articles covering the following topics: History, Current Events, Travel, Animals, Sports, Environment, Food, Art, Economy, and Cities.

Below is an excerpt from one of the history articles.

Inspiration for the Fortune Cookie:

Makoto Hagiwara was a Japanese immigrant who came to San Francisco and designed the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. When the Tea Garden was finished he handed out sweet cookies with fortunes inside of them thanking everyone who helped him through his hardships. Many believe that Hagiwara was inspired by the Chinese Lotus Nut Cookies. The Lotus Nut Cookies had secret messages inside of them that were given to soldiers warning them if they were going to get invaded. The cookie was changed to become a hard biscuit and kept being slightly modified to become the cookie you know today.

For the showcase, Hamlin students:

-Performed songs associated with various regions of the United States

-Displayed beautiful region-based animal collages

-Presented three act math problems

-Performed poems

-Played an original pre-recorded rap song

Below is the opening song of the 5th Grade Forum:


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