December brings a weeklong celebration of coding and STEM. Students in all grades Kindergarten through Grade 8 are participating in various activities centered on a dynamic exploration of technology and related fields. Our students join kids from around the globe in this engaging endeavor.
Throughout the week students have been practicing their coding skills using the following:
Lightbot, Cargo-bot, Playgrounds, 7 Billion Humans, Human Resource Machine, Kodable, App Lab, Dance Party, Blockly, Classic Maze, and Compute it.
On Wednesday morning we welcomed guest speaker Melinda Lu (Director of Engineering) from VSCO (a creative channel). Ms. Lu spoke about the culture of VSCO and her early interest in science and technology. She also answered specific student questions related to her workday and daily activities at VSCO.
This STEM focused week has been a wonderful and profound learning experience for our entire school.
This August our technology program at Hamlin has expanded. In previous years girls in grades 7 and 8 could only take technology classes as electives. In 2019-2020 students in both grades 7 and 8 will partake in a required yearlong tech exploration. This recommendation for a change emerged from the diligent work of Hamlin’s Technology Advisory Committee. Middle school girls will now have the opportunity to continue their studies in areas like coding, robotics, and the engineering design process.
Jim Lengel (Director of Technology) states:
“Our comprehensive tech program now spans from grades 2 through 8. Girls will walk out of Hamlin knowing how to make a website from scratch.”
On Wednesday, the Grade 7 App Design Elective showed their final projects to The Hamlin School’s Technology Advisory Committee. The semester-long course started with identifying real-world problems and researching existing options for solving those problems. Students then came up with their own solutions keeping target users in mind. Girls created a digital prototype of their app using Balsamiq Mockups and then used code.org‘s App Lab to design and code their app. The presentations included a slideshow of the process as well as a live demonstration of the app.
The student-created apps were:
iStretch: This app encourages users to stretch throughout a busy day to improve health and wellness.
reminDING!: This app acts as personal assistant and helps people juggle day to day tasks.
PACKit: This app helps users pack the perfect clothes for trips anywhere in the world.
Carpool: This app helps families better coordinate getting kids to and from activities.
When asked about the app development process, students shared:
“I really liked doing the coding.”
“It was so much fun turning a drawing on paper into a functioning app.”
The following apps were shared and demonstrated:
Mayn Task: Allows users to pair timed tasks with music from a playlist.
Seen: Allows users to set up reminders for when to change their contact lenses.
Movie Meter: Allows users to select movies tailored to fit their mood.
Anchor: Allows users to de-stress by selecting from a menu of healthy options.
Lemon: Allows users to hire chefs to prepare meals for them.
Below is a video clip of Mayn Task showing their demo:
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.
As part of this work, students conducted interviews with community members taking on various roles such as: interviewer, microphone expert, and photographer. Core to this project-based learning endeavor was the integration of technology for conducting interviews and sharing findings. Students utilized GarageBand, QR codes, and the Cardboard Camera app (among others). Hamlin’s tech team has been working with 1st grade teachers for multiple years to support and strengthen this far-reaching pedagogy.
Grade 6 Social Studies students are studying the Eastern Hemisphere and the issue of water scarcity in countries like South Sudan and India. As part of their learning experience they are focusing on the struggle of women in the northern Thar Desert where resources are scarce, forcing girls to forgo school in order to walk long distances to get water for their families. Last year we partnered with the nonprofit OneProsper in order to help keep girls in school.
OneProsper International is working to empower girls in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India to break the cycle of poverty. Our holistic solution brings clean water, education and better nutrition to underprivileged girls living in the Thar Desert.
In September 2017, OneProsper International began construction of rainwater harvesting tanks for 30 families in the Thar Desert which will impact 60 girls. The tanks will be completed in January 2018 and the girls will start attending school February 2018.
This year Grade 6 students are planning a series of bake sales to support OneProsper’s efforts to supply needed water filter technology, farming techniques, school tuition and supplies for each girl. Today Salesforce visited with students and introduced them to their Trailhead technology to create an app to improve bake sale results. Continue reading
Watch the video to learn more specifics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
As part of our Hour of Code Week, we were visited this morning by two dynamic female engineers from Salesforce, Armita Peymandoust (Hamlin parent) and Ayori Selassie. They spoke about the mission of Salesforce, data science, artificial intelligence, developing apps, and what it takes to be a product manager. They also both shared their personal journeys from Iran (Ms. Peymandoust) and West Oakland (Ms. Selassie) to Salesforce, and how math and working with BASIC computer programming language provided them with initial guidance for their career trajectories.
They made the following points (among others):
-Salesforce believes in “doing good as you are doing well,” and demonstrates this by investing in San Francisco public schools and supporting the local community in multiple other ways.
-“Women make the best product managers because of their higher emotional intelligence.”
-“With code you can create anything, you can solve any problem that you think is important.”
-Coding can change the world for women by creating financial independence and allowing them to step out of traditional roles.
-A software engineer’s life is wonderful because you get to: build something and see results immediately, focus on the problem at hand, be a logical thinker, decompose life challenges into blocks, travel and work remotely.
For the 3rd year running, The Hamlin School celebrated STEMming the Gender Gap Day on Friday, December 1. The day was an opportunity to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education/careers for our students, while connecting with female tech leaders in the Bay Area. Hamlin girls had the chance to observe, interact, and learn, as they prepare to be tomorrow’s tech innovators and help #StemGenderGap!
This year Hamlin partnered with a variety of fantastic Bay Area tech companies; we are incredibly thankful for our partnership with these organizations.
We had experiences at:
The Lawrence Hall of Science, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, The Exploratorium, Quizlet, Salesforce, POPSUGAR, Eventbrite, HoneyBook, Smitten, The Tech Museum of Innovation, UCSF, Spring Studio, RobotLAB, Matter of Trust, USS Hornet, SF Cable Car Museum & StoryCorps, and SFMOMA.
The following are some examples of what Hamlin girls engaged in:
During the week of December 4-8, 2017, The Hamlin School will be participating in the 5th annual Hour of Code, a global movement introducing computer programming to tens of millions of students in 180+ countries around the world, encouraging them to learn how to code. The initiative aims to demystify coding and show that anybody can learn the basics. Hamlin is both proud and excited to use this week, once again, to highlight our coding and robotics curriculum by having every student and faculty member code for at least one hour.
Hour of Code Events
In the Lower School, every class has been scheduled for at least an hour’s worth of coding instruction with Ms. Windell. Girls will use a variety of coding apps that have been selected to be developmentally appropriate for their age/skill level. These apps include Kodable, LightBot, Blockly Games: Maze, Human Resource Machine, as well as resources from the code.org website.