Magenta Launch!

In this first week, the Magenta Band focused on getting to know each other and coming together as a cohesive and enthusiastic group. We also began to explore some topics from our first Arc, “By Air.” We shared stories about ourselves, experimented with balloons and paper airplanes, and made mobiles.


One of our opening activities was answering this question: “Would you rather fly or be invisible?” This is inspired by a great This American Life episode called “Superpowers,” which you can listen to online.

Then, to make the Magenta Bandspace our own and to make sure every student contributes to decorating our space, students decorated the stairs and other wooden beams with large nametags that revealed their passions and interests.

One of the initial small group tasks was the Balloon Challenge. Students divided into pairs, and each pair got a helium balloon, some string, and an uninflated balloon. The task was to conduct an experiment that leads to a discovery to be shared with the whole group.



As a follow-up, we wrote a collective poem called “Seventeen Ways of Looking at a Balloon.” This writing exercise is inspired by a poem by Wallace Stevens called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Another challenge was to make a paper airplane that stays in the air the longest and flies the farthest. Extra points were given for cool designs and paper airplanes that can do tricks.



On Thursday, we visited SF MOMA to see and write about Alexander Calder’s mobile exhibit. We also explored the museum as a whole and wrote about exhibits that elicited strong reactions from us, explaining why that was the case.

5a 4a

When we got back to Brightworks, students made their own kinetic sculptures, aiming for creative and elegant designs as well as personal expression.


I am looking forward to our second week of school with this awesome group of students!