Water, music, football & gummy bears: it’s science fair time!
Congratulations to all of Friends School’s middle school scientists who showcased their science fair projects to our community on Tuesday afternoon. Thank you to all of our students for their hard work, dedication and research on some incredible topics, to science teacher Kevin Nugent for his inspirational leadership, and to the middle school staff whose help had a big impact. Please join us in congratulating all of our student scientists who presented the following topics. Those marked with (*) will go on to compete at the Denver Metro Regional Science and Engineering Fair in Denver on February 24 and 25 with the chance to compete at the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF) in March on the CSU campus in Ft. Collins.
- Water/H2O: Designing a Device for Drinking Water While S.C.U.B.A. Diving – Josie (*)
- “Swish n’ Swab”: The relationship between time and bacteria growth – Ilanah & Jasmine (*)
- “The Heart of Music” The Relationship Between BPM and Music Heart Rate – Rowan & Madden (*)
- “How to Find a Doodyful Dog” The Relationship Between Tone of Voice and Dog Reaction – Mason
- “I Can’t Recall” The Relationship Between Memory and How Students Take in Content – Sofia & Fiona (*)
- “Don’t Brand Me” The Relationship Between Brand and Perceived Quality – Ella & Teya (*)
- “Catnip or Cat-nap” The Relationship Between Form of Catnip and Feline Heart Rate – Danny & Evan (*)
- “The Dungeon of Creativity” The Relationship Between What Role is Played in Dungeons and Dragons and Creativity – Judah (*)
- “Smokey Mamba” The Relationship Between different types of sugar and size of the snake – Asher & Charlie (*)
- “I Forgot” The Relationship Between Fidgit and Memory- Gwyneth & Zailey (*)
- “Eggs go weeee” the relationship between state of a chicken egg and how far the egg will fly-Evan & Matthew (*)
- “Meat me in the middle.” The relationship between taste and smell- Addison (*)
- “Weight A minute”. The relationship between weight and speed- Brandon & Lucas
- “Give me a break.” The relationship between break pad material and stopping distance- Charlie & AJ (*)
- “Run Faster”: The Difference Between Types of Encouragement and Running Speed- Pearce (*)
- “Buff Plants!”: The relationship between type of liquid and the amount the plant grew- Campbell
- “The Smiley Project”: The relationship between the participants mouth and the amount of bacterial growth- Willow
- “Imagine That”: The relationship between the use of mental imagery and brain waves- Gryffin (*)
- “Enchanted Sand”: Engineering a device to change sand into a liquid- Benjamin & Dominic (*)
- “Taste of Color”: The Relationship Between Color and Perceived Taste- Soraya & Quincy (*)
- “Sweet or Sour??” : How Does the Power of Suggestion Affect the Tate of Sweet and Sour- Amit
- “Inflategate”: The Relationship Between PSI and How Far a Football Travels-Lazlo
- “Your Killin’ Me Smalls” The Relationship Between Material of Bat and Distance Ball Travels”-Shane
- “Gotta Grow!” : The Relationship Between Shared Surfaces and Bacterial Growth-Beckett (*)
- “Can’t Bear It!”: The Relationship Between Gummi Bear Taste and Bias- Esme & Clare (*)
- “Ice, Ice, Baby!” The Relationship Between Type of Liquid and Melt Time- Lennon
Additional photos can be found on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.Read More
Symbolic Mural Graces South Campus
by Meg Hansen, Director of Marketing and Communications
A beautiful, symbolic mural now graces the east side of our elementary school building, receiving praise from our internal community and those who pass by on 55th Street each day. Not only is it a stunning piece of public art to be enjoyed by all, it’s filled with symbolism from the birth of our school in 1987 to now. This years-long project became a reality thanks to the founders of Friends School and many others.
Under the guidance of Head of School Honor Taft and then Board Chair Jenny Donovan, the search began for a local mural artist who would not only create a beautiful visual for all to enjoy, but who would capture a design that reflects the values, vision and priorities of Friends School, including our commitment to protecting the environment and to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. After reviewing the work of several local and national artists, and with the help of Street Wise Arts, Friends selected artists Jaime Molina and Pedro Barrios from The Worst Crew to create this meaningful piece.
At the end of April 2022, parents, teachers and staff joined Streetwise Arts and artists Jaime and Pedro to explore our shared values and themes for this special mural. Subsequently, the artists spent time at the school meeting with all the elementary school students and teachers and surveyed all community members to capture multiple voices to use for their initial concept for the mural. And then they went to work. Several weeks later, they presented their design which was received with unanimous approval.
On September 1, 2022 Jaime and Pedro arrived with scaffolding equipment and began drawing the mural in real size on the side of the building. Students, staff and families were intrigued and often visited the wall over the next couple weeks to check on the progress and celebrate in the excitement of what was to come. Every day it progressed, the excitement built.
Work was completed on September 16, 2022 and unveiled to our community and all who pass by.
Each mural element tells the story of Friends School, all of which was captured from the history of our school and from the thoughts and dreams of our community members.
- Rain Cloud and Seeding– Represents the process of teaching and learning
- Head, Hand, Heart– Evolution from knowing to caring to loving to doing
- Cottonwood Branch– Story of the stars inside of the cottonwood branch. Reminder about the importance of wonder, respect for nature and the endless possibilities in creating your own world
- Bridge Shapes– Representative of the actual bridge in the preschool play area, and part of the beloved preschool silver and gold transition ceremony. Also a metaphor for compromise and using creativity to meet challenges and solve problems of all sorts
- Door– Represents the plethora of possibilities in learning when young people are encouraged to be active in their education and to open doors for themselves and for others in their community
- Puzzle Piece– Represents the process of students taking all of the experiences and knowledge that they have acquired and thinking critically to pull those pieces together
- Blank Page– Represents the eventual graduation of our students. Like all of our Friends School alumni, their futures and stories are unwritten and super exciting
- Flower heart – if regular love is symbolized by a heart with two humps, then this three humped version illustrates the extra love that you have that you wish to put out in the world. The symbol also represents the head, hand, heart that is central to the Friends School mission.
- Constellations – Illustrating the idea that the stars are out there for everyone to create their own constellations. You don’t have to accept the old fables that have been handed down. You can use your imagination and create your own.
Many thanks to everyone who was involved in this incredible project:
- Larry Gold and Hope Morrisett for their financial gift and initial vision for the project
- Jenny Donovan and Honor Taft, who spearheaded this project and pulled everything together from gathering proposals, to organizing our community, to managing the entire project.
- Friends art teacher Anna Ura and the Friends School students, teachers, staff, and parents who gave their input and shared stories of the things they love about our school to make sure that this artwork reflects our values and who we are as a community.
- Jamie Molina and Pedro Barrios of The Worst Crew for their incredible design and installation of this very meaningful piece of art.
- Leah Brenner Clack at Street Wise Arts who graciously and patiently guided us through this process.
Huge congratulations to middle school student scientists for their outstanding performance at CSEF, the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair, held on the Colorado State University Campus in Ft Collins April 7th and 8th.Read More
Endurance found and 3rd graders celebrate!
The Endurance shipwreck has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica and 3rd grade teacher Caroline Long and her students are beyond excited.Read More
Friends Scientists Take Home Awards
The Denver Metro Science and Engineering Fair (DMSEF) results are in and Friends middle school scientists took home some amazing awards.Read More
It’s science fair season
Friends middle school scientists have spent the last several months researching and working on their science fair projects and will be presenting them soon!Read More
Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year visits Friends School
Gitanjali Rao is Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year and last week, our 5th-8th grade students had an exciting opportunity to meet with her and learn that she shares many of the same ideals we hold for our graduates.Read More
Celebrating the 19th Amendment
This year marks the 100th anniversary of women earning the constitutional right to vote. Four of our 6th grade students accepted the challenge set forth by their Humanities teacher, Diane Bramble, to research and present the Nineteenth Amendment to their classmates.Read More
Mindfully connecting with science
Kindergarten teacher, Annika Nygren, loves science. Her eyes light up when she describes Kindergarteners as natural scientists, filled with curiosity and endless questions and theories. Integrating science with mindfulness resulted in a very interesting project.Read More
What’s Your Impact?
Middle school science teacher Kevin Nugent does his part to lessen his carbon footprint. For one, he commutes by bike from Denver to Boulder every day. While it can be overwhelming for our students to tackle climate issues, Kevin showed them with one project they can lessen our impact on the world.Read More
Third graders join Antarctica Expedition
by Meg Hansen, Director of Marketing and Communications
Third grade teacher Caroline Long is always looking for the next great adventure and thinking of ways she might weave it into an interesting lesson for her students. It’s just one of the things our students and parents love about Caroline and what makes her a great teacher.
Back in December, the great uncle of one of Caroline’s students shared something that sparked her interest. A 45-day expedition to Antarctica was about to take place and her students had the chance to be part of it. Through modern technology, a crew of scientists and marine exploration experts were allowing students around the world to track and interact with them via weekly video conferences as they boarded the S.A. Agulhas II on the Weddell Sea Expedition in Antarctica.
This program, offered through Reach the World, a nonprofit global education organization out of New York, connects schools with explorers and scientists around the world. It was the perfect segue to Caroline’s upcoming units on weather, explorers and other cultures. She started researching and even studied for a technical test she had to take over winter break in order to be considered for the program. She passed and she and her third graders were accepted into the program.
Caroline picked this particular expedition to share with her students for two reasons (with its connection to her curriculum):
- Environmental impact– The explorers were looking at the Larsen Sea ice shelf that broke off near the Weddell Sea in Antarctica in 2017. In particular, they were studying global warming’s effect on Antarctica and the broken ice shelf’s impact on water levels, the environment and the rich sea life that exists in this region. (Curriculum link: The class is studying weather and, in particular, they are looking at how climate change impacts weather and changes the overall climate in the U.S.)
- Finding the Endurance Shipwreck– Additionally, these explorers hope to use Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) to be the first to find Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, which was lost in an ice floe off Antarctica in 1915 and never found again. All members of Shackleton’s crew survived, but all missions to find the ship have failed. (Curriculum link: The class is studying explorers, namely the Spanish and French explorers who settled in Colorado, their country of origin, and what it took to travel all the way to Colorado.)
Caroline receives an email from the ship every Friday and on the following Monday the students learn of their assignment and plan their weeks around the call with a variety of experts on the expedition. Soon the students made connections with Holly, the main scientist on the ship, and began following her blog (many of our students used their time during Readers Workshop to read about the expedition). John Shears, one of the scientists on the ship, offered his thoughts on the expedition and the kids surprisingly learned that John won the Polar Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wow! The students began keeping logs of what they were learning, and a list of questions and what they wanted to learn from the explorers. They wanted to know a lot. For example:
- What makes this expedition different from Shackleton’s Endurance and what would happen if the SA. Agulhas II got stuck just like the Endurance?
- How on earth do they get all that safety equipment and people to Antarctica?
- How do planes stop when they are landing on a sheet of ice?
- What were the scientists learning about wildlife in Antarctica?
- What does Antarctica have to do with Mars?
- What are the explorers learning about other cultures since they are mostly just encountering animals?
- We know a lot about collaboration at Friends School, but why is collaboration in Antarctica so important?
- Tell us where flexibility, adaptability and unpredictability lessons were part of this expedition?
The answers are fascinating! See one of our third grader experts who would be happy to share answers to these questions and all they’ve learned about this project. (Teaser: You can’t touch or hug a penguin in Antarctica unless it’s on the runway, and NASA is studying Antarctica in the hopes it will help astronauts one day live on Mars.)
The students are particularly excited about their last video conference which will be a YouTube live stream with John Shears reflecting back on everything they learned on their voyage: has the climate changed and what are the effects, has the ice gotten thinner, and…did they find the Endurance? We can’t wait to find out!
It turns out modern-day explorers are all around us.You don’t have to go to Antarctica to be an explorer. Visits from two Friends alumni will bring modern-day expeditions right into the classroom. Phoebe Norman (Friends School Fifth Grade Class of 2011) visited 3rd grade last week, and Michael Hansen (Friends School Fifth Grade Class of 2007) will visit soon to share their own experiences of exploring the world and learning about new cultures. Through Where There Be Dragons, Phoebe went to Senegal and Guinea for three months and stayed with two different host families. She shared with the students about adapting to a new religion, living in different homes, eating/cooking different food in different ways, and learning new languages. The kids were all surprised to hear that in some places there wasn’t technology or access to WIFI and phones and that she was only able to communicate back home a few times via email. They loved seeing her pictures and learning about a new country and her experiences
as an explorer. Michael will be visiting the students in March to talk with them about his annual college trips to Argentina to study their culture and business economy. After graduating from college, he traveled to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro where he was immersed in the African culture and completed this expedition that was both physically and mentally challenging. There were challenges and surprises along the way and times where he needed to adjust the course of his travels. But all of them were worth it for the people he met, the places he saw, and some of the unidentifiably delicious food he ate.
Whether it’s Antarctica or Africa or just around our beautiful state, Caroline is always challenging her students to reach beyond their own cultures and learn more about our larger world. She hopes the Weddell Sea Expedition project and the real-life expeditions of their Friends classmates who walked our halls long ago spark a desire to continue to explore and discover new lands and cultures. It’s easy to search online for any place on earth these days. While technology can help us explore different lands and cultures, true exploration happens by actually physically traveling to lands near and far and immersing yourself in the culture.
Which one of our current third graders’ future expeditions will inspire the next generation of Friends students to explore our greater world?Read More