Category Archives: STEMming the Gender Gap

Inquiry Project Year and Environmental Stewardship

Under the leadership of Mark Picketts, Hamlin’s Director of Program Innovation and Professional Development, teachers have been exploring and learning this year through inquiry projects that they personally design. As action researchers, teachers use data, research, and reflection to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. All teachers who participate in the Inquiry Project Year will share their findings with their colleagues at a year-end celebration of learning.

As part of her project year, Ms. Ray (Lower School Science Teacher) developed a K-4 environmental stewardship field trip strand to inspire an appreciation of biodiversity and give students opportunities to take action to create positive change in our community. The strand begins in kindergarten and first grade by exploring local habitats and learning about plant and animal adaptations for survival. These concepts develop a sense of place and community for our youngest scientists and expose them to the idea that everything is interconnected on our planet. Second, third, and fourth grade scientists further develop their understanding of interconnections leading them to want to take action in the form of environmental stewardship.

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Maker Integration: Grade 4 Aviation

Following Grade 4’s Stem the Gender Gap field trip to NASA, we launched the Wind Tube project. In groups of 6, students built a wind tube using wood, plastic, tape, and a fan. Next challenge = build and test flying structures!

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#STEMGenderGap 2016

Hamlin girls are learning with, playing, and creating with tech companies around the Bay Area today!

Learn what the #STEMGenderGap field trips are all about.


Thanks to all of our community partners in this innovative endeavor!

Where Hamlin students are visiting today...

Where Hamlin students are visiting today…

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Citizen Science & Hamlin

unnamed (1)What is Citizen Science?

Citizen Science gives students or the general public an opportunity to be a part of current ongoing research. Most studies have to do with the changing global climate and how habitats are changing over time.  One of the first citizen science projects was conducted by Professor Joe Caprio at Montana State University. He collected data on postcards in the 1950’s on lilac plants in backyards and gardens. With this information, he was able to discover  how elevation and latitude were connected to the onset of spring and to look at climate change.

Hamlin and Citizen Science. Continue reading

STEMming the Gender Gap: A Partner’s Perspective

It’s been a whole month since our STEMming the Gender Gap day and I am
61regularly stopped by students, teachers and parents to hear how much they enjoyed learning and interacting with the dynamic women of San Francisco’s tech industry.  It seems it wasn’t just one way … this week this blog post was shared with me from one of our dynamic partners in this endeavor:

by Sanskriti Ayyar

The Future Designers of the Hamlin School

What’s the best way to get rid of the horrible fish smell in the school cafeteria? A Scent Sucker Robot, of course! The Scent Sucker was just one of the groundbreaking innovations brainstormed at an all-day seminar called “What is Design?” by the fifteen 6th grade students we invited from San Francisco’s Hamlin Girls’ School to Spring Studio to learn about problem solving using design principles.

At the start of the day, we had no idea what to expect in terms of the students’ interest in design principles or how readily they’d be able to apply them. Would they be bored? Would the notion of design principles feel relevant to kids? Would they be able to accept feedback from one another? It turns out, there was no reason to worry –  these girls were engaged, capable, supportive and uninhibited. They breezed through our design thinking lecture and instructive exercises, leveling-up their design chops quicker than their more reserved adult counterparts have in the past. Next, they did some ingenious prototyping and, finally, wowed us with their design innovation presentations.

An app for promoting diversity in school lunches

                           Choose your own lunch

When I was younger, problems were tackled by “experts” and once “solved,” would remain so…for a long time. In the twelve years that these girls have been alive, the cycle of technology-driven innovation has changed the nature of problem-solving dramatically. Products can always be refined and improved. These girls are growing up in a world where continuous version updates are the norm. It is also a world in which good design is no longer just a concept people associate with German cars. With so much of our lives being anchored in ever-improving UX functionality, young people realize intuitively that design isn’t just about how something looks. They understand that, as Steve Jobs said, “Design is how it works.”

The design thinking process involves a lot of imagination, play and storytelling, so it’s not surprising that kids would take to it so well. Likewise with prototyping. We struggle to get adults to let go and have fun, resisting the idea that their concepts have to be perfect, etc., but kids are used to being beginners, so creating off-the-cuff comes more naturally to them. They combined ideas, acted out all their possible solutions, and had fun with the process, whether they were “failing” or “succeeding” at any given moment. Ultimately, the creative power of design facilitated some truly high-level problem-solving that left everyone feeling inspired.

A robot that gets rid of bad lunchroom scents.

                         The Scent Sucker Robot

Here are some of the things we learned from our time together:

First of all, we learned that blue-sky thinking and focus are not at odds. While we were worried that the creative fun and high-energy collaboration we were encouraging would devolve into a food fight, that never happened. In fact, we learned that allowing the girls to be creative actually kept them focused and on task. In the face of tables spread with a feast of pom poms, pipe cleaners and modeling clay, the Hamlin students showed nothing but motivation and enthusiasm to produce a creative solution.

While prototyping solutions for creating a better cafeteria experience, the students kept asking each other, “What if___?” They naturally asked each other edge-case questions, making sure they weren’t leaving any holes in their solutions to problems like waiting in long lines, dirty tables, and not enough food variety. We noticed that allowing them to lead with creative thinking seemed to generate a natural desire to be comprehensive and balance their ideas with time management, costs, and other logical considerations. They were invigorated by their creative ideas, and didn’t want them jeopardized by bad planning. This inspired them to make sure their prototypes were not only creative, but actually viable.

Lunch meat your way

                               Lunch meat your way

We were particularly impressed by the girls’ perfect understanding of empathy, an important consideration of good design. They realized that in designing an app, they’d need to create different app states for their respective audiences. They asked one another “What would students need?” and then compared that to the needs of both parents and teachers. Encouraging them to be open-minded and think creatively to solve their design problem, actually engendered an atmosphere of empathy, where it was easy for them to relate to the needs of their audiences. What’s more, the girls demonstrated their ability to compromise. In considering the content of the different app states they’d be creating, one group voiced concerns regarding privacy! Initially, the app was designed so that parents could see what their kids were eating at school, however some students felt uncomfortable with this feature. They weren’t so sure they wanted to volunteer information regarding their lunch choices to their parents. In the end, they decided to keep students’ food choices private, settling on a bit less functionality for the parent interface, rather than including functionality that would deter students from using the app, demonstrating their understanding of opposing needs and the art of compromise.

No more long lines

                             No more long lunch lines

We were happy to learn that the girls were natural collaborators and didn’t compete with each other. Many designers struggle with needing to outdo one another, fixating on the perfect concept, which of course is a big roadblock to innovation. The girls revelled in the idea that since they were all working together, they could relax, knowing that no one person would be responsible for solving the entire design problem. When asked, most of the girls said that the best part of design thinking was working in collaboration.

Overall we were thrilled that these 6th graders were so keen to use design thinking to tackle and solve the challenges of the day. Not only did they embrace the creative problem-solving process effortlessly, they did so with unabashed enthusiasm. Thanks to the lovely students of The Hamlin school, the future of design just got brighter.

The Table Cleaner Deluxe

                          The Table Cleaner Deluxe

#STEMGenderGap

See what our girls are doing around San Francisco today!
learn more about the day here


Thanks to all of our community partners in this innovative endeavor!

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where Hamlin girls are today!


 

 

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3 Days – STEMming the Gender Gap …


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What do these companies have in common?

They are working with @Hamlin at STEMming the Gender Gap!

Learn more here and by watching @Hamlin on December 4th!

#STEMgendergap

STEMming the Gender Gap

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 3.30.45 PMAs has been recently reported, the gender gap in the tech industry persists in 2015 – we see Hamlin Girls as an essential part of the solution to closing that gap.  On December 4th, Hamlin girls will be learning off campus.  They will visit one of 18 participating locations, with the goal for students (at all grade levels) to see, interact, and learn, from dynamic women working within the San Francisco tech industry.

We hope that over time these experiences and exposure will help us in our goal of STEMming the Gender Gap within the Bay Area tech world and beyond.   

Where we will be learning:

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Learn with our girls on this exciting day by following @hamlin & #STEMgendergap

img from:  http://www.stemgraduates.co.uk/latest-articles-addressing-the-stem-gender-gap