Category Archives: Awesome Academic Projects

Hamlin Teachers Present Inquiry Projects

For the third year, Hamlin teachers delved into reflective learning through inquiry projects that they personally designed. Teachers used data, research, and reflection, to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. Several teachers participated in the Inquiry Project Year, sharing their findings with colleagues at a year-end celebration on June 13. This reflective work serves to make Hamlin a learning institution that continues to grow and strive for excellence in a variety of areas. Below are some of the project descriptions.

Michelle Lovejoy

For the 2018/2019 school year, I created a student satisfaction survey that was given to 3rd – 8th grade students after their yearly Outdoor Education trips. The survey was created using Google Forms and given to students the week after returning from their Outdoor Ed trip. The survey combined short answer questions and five-point Likert scale questions where respondents could express how much they agreed or disagreed with the particular statement. This data will be used to examine how students feel the Hamlin Outdoor Education program is doing in relation to:

-the Hamlin Creed

-the mission & purpose of Outdoor Education

-student’s lives at home and at school

Lindsay Bothwell & Meagan Andrews

Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) is an instructional approach using the principles of scientific inquiry as a basis of word-level literacy instruction. This word study approach is based off of the idea that the primary function of spelling is to represent meaning instead of phonology. This year, our fourth graders got to experience this type of word study approach.

Maggie Jo Feldman

Drawing as a foundation skill is one way to build a student’s confidence and help them manifest their ideas more fully.  I wanted to apply different methods of presenting drawing techniques and creating stronger lesson plans. My focus was on three different areas: observation drawing (5th & 6th grade curriculum), field drawing (for Outdoor Ed projects) and portraiture (Elective class).

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Grade 7 Rises to the Challenge

Rise To the Challenge (RTC) is the intensive for our Grade 7 students 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. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

RTC really started in autumn when students began going on various field trips where they volunteered and learned about how nonprofits serve a community. In addition to those engaging experiences, throughout the year students listened to many guest speakers who shared their altruistic wisdom and inspiration.

This preliminary work culminated with Grade 7 students choosing their own RTC topics, doing in-depth research, then sharing their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.

This year’s topics were: Improving Maternal Health, Minimizing Risk of Genetic Diseases in Newborns, Improving Public Access to Quality Food, Creating Environmentally Friendly Packaging and Shipping, Challenges Involved with Autonomous Cars, Opiate Addiction, Technology and Well-being, LBGTQ+ Rights, Oceans and Plastics, Environmental Conservation, Sexual Assault on College Campuses, Reducing Gun Violence, Reproductive Rights for Women, Dangers Facing Various Ecosystems

Many teams used technology to generate awareness, including: videos, websites, and Change.org petitions. Some groups did fundraising through bake sales; others conducted raffles to raise funds. Proceeds went to various organizations, including the Marine Mammal Center, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the World Wildlife Fund.

Grade 6 Leads Symposium

Symposium is the intensive for our Grade 6 students 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. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

In Ancient Greece, a Symposium was a regular meeting where men discussed problems. Today, our symposium is a formal meeting where multiple specialists deliver short addresses on several topics.

The Grade 6 Symposium took place at the Century Club on Friday, where our students shared information creatively expressed through songs, TED Talks, rap, spoken word, and PSA’s.

Topics for this year included:

Chinese Cultural Revolution, The Effect of Access to Water, Underrepresentation of Women in Hollywood, The Role of Girls’ Education, Danger of the Single Story and Diversity in Africa, World Religions, Partition of India, Chinese Inventions, Apartheid in South Africa, Modern Slavery, Government Systems of Ancient China, and Gender Privilege

Each audience member received a program that provided detailed (student-written) information about each topic.

Ms. Liu shares:

Symposium was 6 weeks of preparation. The girls were able to have fun with all the material that they researched. They are proud of what they accomplished. Symposium is an example of rigor and joyful learning together.

Jan Micha Influential Women in History Project (Grade 4)

“To know the women who came before us is to know ourselves. It is to know the blood memory that runs through our veins. It is to know that the unlived dreams of our ancestors are our honor and our duty to live out, right now. Because right now, as women and as girls, when it comes to the work of the women before us, we may not be able to pay it back, but we can certainly pay it forward.” -Cleo Wade

For over 30 years Grade 4 Hamlin students have taken the stage in front of their peers and parents, giving voice to inspiring women who came before them. This project was started by a beloved Hamlin teacher Jan Micha, and is now named after her.

For this project students select a woman from history, do extensive research from multiple sources, then embody that person, presenting in character with substance, poise and eloquence. When Hamlin alumnae come back to visit they often cite their Women in History presentation as an enduring hallmark of their education.

Our students will present to their parents tomorrow tonight at the Century Club from 6-9 p.m.. This afternoon they will have the opportunity to partake in “Meeting of the Minds.” At this occasion they will speak as their influential women, discussing various topics with their peers, who are also in character. While sharing profound discourse, students enjoy delicious treats and sip drinks.

This year girls are representing the following women:

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Kindergarteners Visit With Medical Doctors

Guest post by Ms. Jennifer Phillips, Kindergarten

As one of our final field trips for our emergent unit on bones, we visited Dr. Lane’s (Mackenzie’s mom) medical office where Dr. Jones (Kaia’s dad) joined us as we learned more about what they do and the tools they use to help people.

Kaia’s dad, an orthopedic surgeon, brought some actual pieces of bone for the girls to examine, as well as some models of bones, and hardware/tools he uses when repairing the bones of his patients.  Dr. Lane, a fertility specialist, gave each girl an ultrasound of their arm, pointing out the layers of their bones seen on the screen and how their bones connect.  Each girl left with a copy of her ultrasound.

Our study has been a cross-curricular endeavor, with Kate Roseman teaching the girls a song/rap about bones, Mrs. Gonzalez and Ms. Ray deepening the girls’ understanding of bones with their scientific expertise, and Mr. Witrak and Ms. Stevens lending us the bones from the Lascaux cave in McKinne lounge for our Georgia O’Keeffe inspired artwork.

Our culminating project will be a “Bones Bonanza” in June where the girls will be able to share their knowledge and work with their families.

Immersive Technology Exploration: Grade 5 Maker Night

Each year, we host a Making/Tinkering event for all Grade 5 students and their families. Last night, students completed Catalyst challenges, built circuits using littleBits, showcased their Scratch games with Makey Makeys, and programmed Sphero robots! The Grade 5 teachers and the tech team worked together to create a wonderful learning experience and an engaging community event for our Grade 5 families.

Exploring Community in Grade 1

Grade 1 students have spent much of their school year exploring San Francisco and the people who live in our city. Students began by asking, how can we demonstrate good citizenship in our local community? Girls took walks around the Hamlin neighborhood in order to: make observations, think about the needs of a community, and speak with people who live and work nearby. 1st graders looked at different kinds of maps, made their own maps, and followed maps on the neighborhood walks. The girls also had an opportunity to explore their own home neighborhoods and teach their peers about what they discovered through creating poster boards with photos.

On April 9, the project culminated with girls showing their 3 dimensional map of the local neighborhood, complete with QR codes, which allowed visitors to learn more via their mobile phones.

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.

Student Film Selected for International Ocean Film Festival

A talented team of Hamlin girls created the film Our Ocean as part of their Grade 5 intensive work last spring. This coming Sunday the film will be shown at the Cowell Theater (10 a.m. at Fort Mason) as part of the International Ocean Film Festival.

Now in its 16th year, the IOFF is an acclaimed festival of independent ocean-related films from all over the world. Themes range from ocean adventure, science, and marine life to sports and coastal cultures. We look for films that not only entertain audiences but also educate and inspire people to participate in environmental efforts in and around the ocean, as well as promote better ocean stewardship.

The student film explores the importance of the ocean and delves into the crucial environmental threats that it currently faces. Our Ocean blends beauty and splendor, with a call to action, echoing Hamlin’s mission to meet the challenges of our time.

To learn more about the International Ocean Film Festival, please visit: http://intloceanfilmfest.org/

To watch the film, please click on this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VgRFi4lfxzs-aUhe9zVBvFoEnAw1T3Oo/view

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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