SIG 2013

Sarah Lawrence College


SIG Sarah Lawrence is off and running. I have been visiting the classes all week long and I am very impressed with the students. We have engineers, mathematicians, artists, debaters, and scientists exploring and engaging in every day's lessons!

Orientation Workshop

While the parents were busy at Parent Orientation, the campers were having a blast pretending to be MacGyver. They were given a ballon, straw, tape, paper, rubber band, and paper clips- and were required to create a propulsion device to race their balloon the furthest along a 6 foot string tied from one side to the other across the room. This was a fun event where many acquaintances and friendships began forming. Students were enthusiastic to help others and share their ideas. It turns out you only really needed the paper, tape, and the balloon (although it could work with a few combinations of the other items as well) to attach the balloon to the string and propel it down the line. The lesson is that- sometimes we are faced with lots of distractions and unnecessary things, but its important to stay focused on the task and keep true to only what will help you to achieve you goal. The students all came up with brilliant variations and tricks to race their balloons.

Week 1- Course Updates!

B05 Cracking Codes

In our first week, the students in “Cracking Codes” brainstormed a thinking map of objects that require passwords and codes.  We also wrote questions and objectives to guide our learning throughout the course.  To get ready to learn about different types of codes, students created their own different types of patterns, which will help when we begin to create and solve our own codes. Talk to your child about his/her experience in "Cracking Codes." Here are some guiding questions to help you out: 1. What are some objects at home that require passwords? 2. Why do we need passwords? 3. What patterns can we find in our homes or in nature?

E24 Under the Sea: Diving into Marine Science

During the first week, students shared their own experiences in/with a variety of water sources. They identified their own personal favorites and overviewed the creative exercise/project workbook. Our class participated in a Jeopardy game that explored students’ knowledge and interests. Goals and mysteries of the sea were explored. Students also created their own jellyfish.

P11 Building Blocks of Engineering: The Way Things Work

We started our first week with amazing energy and enthusiasm. We first studied weight-bearing characteristics of structural models, comparing the load capacity of a single sheet of paper with that of an accordioned paper sandwiched between two flat sheets of paper. The campers were amazed to see that a double-deckered sandwich plate held three very heavy water bottles! This demonstration lead to a discussion of corrugated cardboard during which the campers had the opportunity to tear and peel away layers of Amazon and Fresh Direct shipping boxes. Next we investigated the tensile strength of paper by predicting, and then recording, the number of quarters needed to cause an attached string to rip through a piece of paper. We also tested the tensile strength of string itself, first with one strand, and then with three strands twirled together, observing how difficult it was to rip the twine. We talked about pressure as the ratio of force over area and stood on paper cups to demonstrate how pressure is altered by differences in weight or area. The next two projects required a lot of creativity. Campers created newspaper towers using only two pieces of newspaper, without any tape or glue or other additional devices. The campers had fun competing for the recognition of the tallest tower. Finally, we worked with mini-marshmallows and toothpicks to create different polyhedra and other complex structures.

J34 DNA: Your Unique Code

During our first week the students dove right in to a study of the structure of DNA in human genes and the Human Genome Project. We ended our second day with a discussion of the social and political issues presented by identifying humans as a collection of 23 pairs of genes. When does life begin and should the police be able to collect your DNA without a warrant? The class was then presented with a list of sixteen common genetic disorders and the students identified one or two disorders that they wanted to master. These students are now studying and preparing poster boards on color blindness, Phenylketonuria (PKU), hemophilia, Cystic fibrous, Angleman’s Syndrome and Cri-du-chat. Next week the class will complete a DNA extraction from a human cell... Guiding questions: 1. What is the difference between meiosis and mitosis? 2. What are the two reasons why DNA reproduces? 3. How is the gender of a human determined? 4. What data have you gathered on the genetic disorder you are studying?

J36 Algebraic Expressions

The students began their week with a self-assessment and an objective pre-assessment so that they could gauge their strengths and needs. After discussing the role of algebra in various fields, students were introduced to the various number sets with which they will be working, including the set of complex numbers, followed by a discussion of rational and irrational numbers. The students asked a lot of pointed questions which lead to some observations of interesting numerical patterns. We then analyzed the translation between English and math as a prerequisite for interpreting word problems. The students worked through Chapter One of the assigned workbook and continued to appreciate the brevity and clarity of mathematical symbols. By the end of the week, each student worked out a specific area that he or she wishes to explore over the course of the remaining two weeks. The students are eager to proceed.

E20 Speaking, Writing, Empowering!

Students began the personal journal process with a plethora of prompts. The writing web was explored by students using interest-generated maps. A Mystery Box was employed. Students have enjoyed “Inside the Actors Studio” to learn about previous writing and speaking activities. Students generated a list of genres and shared experiences. Political cartoons, letters to the editor and personal goals were encouraged.

B06 The Curious Chemist: Chemistry in Our Daily Lives

The curious Chemist began its first week with an explosion of fun! On the first day each student was asked to complete the following statement; Please clear off your desk and get ready for __?__. Their answers were: fun, fun science fun and Chemistry, art, art, art, Chemistry and bat.. (yes bat!). After a brief discussion of what chemistry is the students modeled the lock and key method used by atoms and molecules. Next the student linked molecules together to form simple and complex compounds. These compounds were heart shaped, star shaped and cylinder shaped molecules! After learning the difference between explosion and implosion it was time to explode things. The week ended with the implosion of a soda can and a review of the Scientific Method. Next week we will explore what chemical makes ice cream!...Guiding Questions: 1. What is the difference between an explosion and an implosion? 2. How do chemicals link together? 3. Lastly, what are the steps in the Scientific method?

P12 Koalas, Kangaroos, and Crocodiles: Discovering the Land Down Under

After a discussion about people, places, and animals that are in Australia, students came up with objectives for their course work.  We began looking at Australia through a wide-angled lens by learning about the country/continent, geographic regions, land formations, and water formations.  We discussed the climate in different areas and what animals and people live in those areas.  Students were also introduced to their Australia email pal, Jack, who is a 7-year-old boy.  Throughout the rest of the course, they will ask Jack questions about what life is like in Australia for someone their age...Guiding questions: 1. How are animals in the United States different from or the same as animals in Australia? 2. How are geographical features in the United States different from or the same as geographical features in Australia?

B07 Expanding the Universe!

The first week of Expanding the Universe was out of this world! The students began the first day with understanding the orbit of Earth’s satellite – the moon. Each student modeled the phases of the moon with an orange covered with white contact paper as the moon; a digital projector to simulate the rays of the sun and the student’s head as the Earth. The students ended this exercise by drawing a chart to show the different phases of the moon. The next activity was modeling the distance between the planets in our solar system. We now have only eight planets because Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf plant. The week ended with the students measuring the distance between the planets in our solar system and producing a scaled model on the field in front of Bates Hall. There is a lot of space in space!...Guiding Questions: 1. What is the difference between a waxing crescent moon and a waning crescent moon? 2. Identify the different phases of the moon. 3. What is a dwarf planet?

E28 Spying: Secrets, Surveillance and Science

Do you have what it takes to be a spy?  This wonderful group of 9 and 10 year olds think they do!  With a deep knowledge of National Spy Organizations, students began to think about the aspects of the spy industry that they wanted to focus on for the course.  This week we began to think about how spies communicate using technology and coding systems.  Students were introduced to the Caesar Cipher where they had to decode messages and create their own message.  Students also used their knowledge of mathematics to find the frequency of letters used in coded messages to help them decode...Guiding questions: 1. Why do people use secret codes? 2. How have the ways people have created codes and ciphers changed over time? 3. Why do spies use codes to send messages? 4. What are qualities or characteristics of a good spy?

J33 What's Your Point?

Students explored the pervasive use of body language in communication. They used a Mystery Box to explore and expound on controversial issues. They contributed favorite orators and explained choices. They explored political cartoons and the possibilities of creating one. They were offered a project that involves parental involvement in Letters to the Editor of their local papers. Lincoln was presented as a master orator and compared to JFK. Students will continue to be aware of current events and the debate skills of world leaders.

P14 To The Rescue: There's a Superhero in Everyone!

We have a great bunch of super creative kids learning about super heroes this year. They have spent several days researching their favorite super heroes, as well as investigating the origins and abilities of unfamiliar characters. We have started putting together an outline of our own heroes, sketching out gadgets and sidekicks for our characters as well. Jet packs seem to be a favorite gadget among the class, so several students are working on actually making wearable jet packs to help complete their superhero persona. Other nifty gadgets include magic wands, superhero cuffs, and identity obscuring masks. Some of the superheros in our class have even formed an alliance called the Weather Controllers!...Guiding Questions: 1. What do you believe makes a good super hero? 2. What is the history/origin of your super hero and what are his/her super powers.

AR18 Get Theatrical!

Our inspired actors are committing themselves to creating an original show that supports and promotes every student's chosen area of theatrical expression. In our class we are exploring the art of improvisation which allows students to create, demonstrate and dramatize multiple acting scenarios. Every day, each actor is asked to think "outside of the box." Improv allows for immediate inspiration to influence movements, actions, and speech. With much fun, success, joy, and teamwork; every student is given the opportunity to play multiple roles and contribute to the development, creation, and composition of our original show. On a given day, one student might create, develop and practice dance movements, while another student will explore, express and mime the action for an entire dramatic reading. Additionally, set design becomes a beautiful collaboration with a shared vision for the overall concept for our show. Original ideas regarding stage management and puppetry infuse every single session and add to the genuine growth of each student's luminous journey. I am proud to share that the level of support, generosity, and teamwork is highlighted every day by each student supporting other peers throughout this most wonderful experience. What a great team! I look forward to sharing our show with both peers and family members! 

AR19 Art Alley

In Art Alley, we have delved into so many diverse aspects of art. Our first day, we had the pleasure of desiging personalized puzzles. Our next topic explored optical illusions where the students were able to create their own vases, using the optical illusion techinque of duplicating their own traced out silhouettes. Next, we explored the realms of cubism and now we're on our way to developing individualized objectives so that each student may have the pleasure of expressing his or her preferred artistic style.

AR17 Sports Stop

The past few days gave been rainy in the afternoons so we haven't spent too much time outside. However, on those rainy days, we enjoy staying inside and playing board games such as chess and mancala. We were able to set up the badminton and soccer nets outside one day, and the students have really gotten into those activities. This group isn't afraid to try new things- ribbon dancing, yoga, and badminton are all new on the agenda this year and so far has been met with great enthusiasm.


Happy Birthday, Arthur!!

Friday morning we celebrated Arthur's birthday when he shared cookies with all the students at snack time. Happy birthday, Arthur!


7/30-Picture Day!!

Please wear your SIG t-shirts on Tuesday, July 30th for our group photo!