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):
-Battery Coil Train
-Steel Wool and Batteries
Throughout the academic year students in Grade 4 engage in dynamic public speaking in front of the entire Lower School, along with parents and faculty. Girls talk about some of their favorite things, share specifics about one topic in particular, then take 3 questions from the audience.
Today, girls spoke about the following:
Liliana spoke about her love of waterskiing.
Paige spoke about her love of surfing.
Sasha spoke about her love of baking.
Georgia spoke about her love of singing and then performed “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift.
For many girls, this is the biggest speaking event of their lives so far. They practice, work through nerves, and ultimately thrive from the experience. In the coming days another group of Grade 4 students will have the opportunity to take the stage and be VIP speakers.
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.
When Ms. O’Brien moved into her new classroom, she looked out the window at the back of the climbing wall and the colorful mural and got inspiration for a living wall project. Ms. Ray had just returned from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she had visited an amazing living wall at a nonprofit called “Vertical Harvest” and she thought a living wall sounded like a wonderful science/maker collaboration.
Ms. O’Brien. Ms. Ray, and Mr. Louie met to put this idea into motion. Planning out the project provided several rich opportunities for problem solving, such as using measurement skills to see where the wall would fit, figuring out how to provide sunlight and water for the plants, and how to protect the wood finish from water damage.
First, the 2nd graders worked with Mr. Louie in small groups to laser cut their name and an image of a flower onto a wooden panel. Then, they used clamps for woodworking and special glue to construct their boxes. In science class, they planted succulents in pots and carefully arranged rocks and shells around them to create miniature gardens. Ms. Lovejoy and Ms. Davis donated the succulent plants.
Phase one of the project is located in classroom 2OA while the girls finish planting their succulents. Phase two will be located in the lower school entry foyer across from Ms. Yeung’s desk. For the final phase of the project, the living wall will be mounted behind the climbing wall outside. This project is a wonderful example of the collaborative spirit that organically surrounds us at Hamlin every day.
Grade 7 Hamlin Spanish students recently created a museum of Hispanic artists. Girls researched the lives of various artists and then wrote about one work of art and created a short biography about the life of their artist, employing art history vocabulary along with the use of the past tense. As part of the interdisciplinary Spanish and Art project, students role-played as Hispanic artists, interviewing each other about what inspired and defined their artwork. For the creative part of the project, students had the freedom to write a poem, take a photograph or paint a work of art similar to the original piece.
Above, Ava’s painting is on the left and Noé Canjura’s is on the right.
More of these beautiful art pieces are on display in the East Dining Room.
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.
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, a symposium is a formal meeting where multiple specialists deliver short addresses on a topic.
The Symposium presented topics focused on this year’s theme empathy + knowledge= hope. The event took place at the Century Club and shared information about: personal and social identity, the concept of privilege, the partition of India, access to water in India and various countries in Africa, human trafficking, the danger of a single story, women micro-entrepreneurs and their roles in developing Africa, the Cultural Revolution, representation of women and people of color in Hollywood, the role of education, the role of propaganda in government, and globalization.
Alice shares: For our final unit, we devoted ourselves to creating today’s show. Individually, we considered the many topics we could go into greater depth about, and we got sorted into our small groups with a specific presentation format to follow. We studied our kind of presentation, making sure we understood the ways that song lyrics or PSA imagery or a 21/20 episode are strongest and have greatest impact. We researched our topic in depth, and we put together a draft of our presentation. Next, we revised and revised our work — and then reconsidered and revised it some more.
A dedicated and altruistic group of Grade 8 students recently made high quality furniture pieces for Hamilton Families. Hamilton Families is a leading service provider to homeless families, with an array of highly effective programs at sites in San Francisco and Oakland.
This project was spearheaded by Hamlin math teacher, Sheena Tart-Zelvin. She shares:
As a means of launching the school year and framing the material we would be learning, the Integrated Geometry class spent the first few days of school brainstorming ways in which they could use their math skills to benefit the San Francisco community. The idea that won out in the end was to build pieces of furniture and donate them to organizations that provide housing like Hamilton Families.
In the second trimester students learned about the 5 forces of engineering, explored the basics of woodworking, designed a piece of furniture they could build, and sketched the design with all of its measurements. This preparation allowed the students to start building on day one of trimester 3. That is when Mr. Louie (Maker Teacher) joined the project and worked closely with the girls as they measured pieces of wood, used power tools, sanded, painted, and slowly but surely brought their vision to life.
The following items were made: a coat hanger and bench, a kitchen cart, a desk, a table with two chairs, and a desk that folds up and hangs from a wall. We are planning on delivering the furniture this week.
To learn more about our Maker Program, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/program/technology-and-innovation/maker-program
A Hamlin Kindergarten class (Ortiz/Burnett) has been focusing their emergent class study on baking. This study is based on student interest through questions, observations, and curiosity. When possible, baking has been integrated into various aspects of class, including math, science, and writing. The girls have also been baking bread all year long with a bread-making machine.
Their study culminated with creating an actual bakery. Rainbow the Bakery opened June 1, and will be operating during the early part of this month. The girls have been busy refining their baking skills and are very excited to share their passion with customers.
The money raised from the items purchased at Rainbow the Bakery will be donated to Cake4Kids. Cake4Kids is a nonprofit in the Bay Area that provides birthday cakes for children in youth programs who would not otherwise have the opportunity for such a treat. Part of their mission is to: Bake and deliver custom birthday cakes to underprivileged children. We raise children’s self-esteem by simply showing we care.
To learn more about Cake4Kids please visit: http://www.cake4kids.org/