Flight (and other stuff)

*This post is brought to you by the Orange Band students: Lucy, Justin, Roman, Amiya, Nora, Charlotte, Jeevan, and Phoebe. This post contains thoughts on the week, musings on what students would like to study, observations about projects and excursions, and helpful information. Enjoy!*

 

Flying Through the Air

by Roman

This week we were working on a kite and then we flew them at Bernal Hill. Thursday we saw Gever paraglide at Mussel Rock beach in Pacifica. We also have been reading The Kite Fighters. It’s a really great book, because we are now learning about kites and how they work. We also built a table for our band space so it would be more cool. Last week we did the marshmallow challenge in our band. Last Thursday we had the potluck at Brightworks.

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Roman working on the the last kite iteration for flight practice at Bernal Heights Park.

 

Mussel Rock Beach

by Nora

On Thursday the Orange and Teal bands went to Mussel Rock to watch Gever paraglide. During our Mussel Rock excursion we saw a coyote,  learned about Mussel Rock’s movement and history and learned about Gever’s paragliding suit and chair. Apparently Mussel Rock was moving over the years to come were it is and it is not the same kind of rock that is around it. It is on the cost of San Mateo County, California, offshore from Daly City.

Is Gever flying -- or gliding?

Is Gever flying — or gliding?

 

Gever explains how his paragliding suit and wing work

Paragliding

by Amiya

Last week the Orange Band went with the Teal Band to Mussel Rock Beach to watch Gever paraglide. It was moderately cold, which is Gever’s prefered temperature for paragliding. When we got there, we walked along a dirt path and up to a hill. Gever then showed us what everything in his 50 pound bag was as he unpacked his paraglider. When he had unfolded the wing, he had us stand back and caught a gust of wind. With the paraglider open, he walked up a hill and was just about to take off when his paraglider wing fell from the air onto a prickly  bush. He untangled the wing and walked up the hill and off a cliff where he dropped down, but quickly rose to a much greater height. Gever came over to where we were and flew over our heads. He was only about 8 feet higher than where we were so we were able to talk to him briefly. Towards the end of his flight, we walked down the hill and saw a coyote that ran away from us as we made our way to the triangular patch of gravel where Gever was going to land. After he safely landed, he showed us a video he had taken from the air. I thought it was interesting to see Gever walk into the air and fly with only a wing, some very thin cords, and a chair.

Mussel Rock

Mussel Rock

Out and About This Week

by Jeevan

This week Gever went paragliding at Mussel Rock Beach. We watched him paraglide. It was fun. I also made a really big kite but I never got to fly it it. Instead I made a really OK-sized kite. I ended up taking apart the big  kite. We went to Bernal Hill this week too. And that is where we flew our kites.

Kite in flight over Bernal Heights

Kite in flight over Bernal Heights

Back up the hill

Back up the hill

I’ve Caught Kite Fever!

by Charlotte

I was really interested in Korean kites and so I researched and found this legend:

Once upon a time there lived a general named Han Hsin, he had to get into the enemy’s palace,

So he called on his soldiers to fetch him his kite. The next day they went to the palace. He held out his kite to measure how much length between the palace and his troops. Then he told all of his soldiers to dig and dig ‘till they had gotten underneath the palace. Then he tied his kite (which was a dragon kite) to a nearby tree, some say he tied it to the tree to ward off Enemies or evil spirits.

But others say it was to distract the enemies.

 

Here are some other cool facts about kites:

  • Kites were first invented in china when an old farmer tied a string to his hat so it wouldn’t fly away.

These are some types of kites:

  • Diamond kite
  • Delta kite
  • Box kite
  • Winged box kite
  • Dragon kite

Kites have come a long way from a hat tied to a string  to the kites we have now today!

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Nora uses straws and connectors to make a first iteration of her cool box-type kite.

 

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Orange Band members work on their second iterations: mini prototypes with toothpicks and hot glue!

 

Korean Kite Inspiration

by Lucy

Lucy used this model for a Korean fighting kite as her inspiration

Lucy used this model for a Korean fighting kite as her inspiration

This week our band was making kites I decided to make a Korean fighting kite. I decided to make one because our whole band was reading a book called The Kite Fighters it’s sort of good but I haven’t finished it yet so I don’t know. The kite fighters is set in Korea and they fly kites. At first we used plastic straw like things and weird connect things to make models. Then we made the actual thing with bamboo and rice paper. We used them today mine spun a lot I don’t know why but it did and it looked cool. It was really fun making the kite  it was exciting to see the kite that I made actually fly if you count spinning really fast uncontrollably as flying, if you don’t at least it wasn’t dragging on the ground all though it did hit the ground awfully hard and it did tare  a lot. Any way it was fun and that’s all that matters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😻 : )

Lucy and Nora engrossed in their new band novel, The Kite Fighters

Lucy and Nora engrossed in their new band novel, The Kite Fighters

On the hill!

On the hill!

Thoughts From a New Brightworks Student

by Roman

I moved schools. I was at Children’s Day School. It wasn’t so hard as I thought to move schools, because I had some friends. They also have a lot of freedom at Brightworks so I like that because I get squirmy a lot and they let you take a break when you need

Build It - Draw It - Solve It, Phoebe!

Build It – Draw It – Record It, Phoebe!

Moving to SF and Brightworks

by Jeevan

I moved 1 or 2 weeks before school started. I moved from Illinois. The weather was different in Illinois. It would get colder and hotter, but never like California which is in between. I also met a lot of people in California. I take the train to school a lot .                                                                                                            

Next By-Air Mini Investigation

by Phoebe

For our next dive into the arc, we should study vampire bats because they are really interesting. And they, well, are just really interesting! Bats are the only mammals that fly. Common Vampire Bats (Desmodus rotundus) are the only mammals who have a blood only diet. Vampire bats feed on mammals like cows and horses.  Vampire bats attack animals from the ground. Baby Vampire bats are called pups.Vampire bats only have a few teeth. I think we should study these animals because they are misunderstood (and evil! AND SO AM I! MUA-HAHAHAHAHA!)

 

Stuff We Should Do

by Justin

Justin worked on multiple iterations of this kite design of his own creation - made from bamboo, rice paper, and tape.

Justin worked on multiple iterations of this kite design of his own creation – made from bamboo, rice paper, and tape.

We should make hover boards or video games or robots. Or computers. Then we should go on a vacation (excursion) to somewhere really fun. Then we should make a treehouse  in our bandspace, then we should do NaNoWriMo in the treehouse, and we should be able to play video games in our bandspace. Then we should get a tv and lots of movies and games and an xbox and a VR set and stuff. Then we should rewrite the dictionary and make it the Totally Educational and Not Silly at all Dictionary for Kids, and sell it, then buy toys and pillows with the money and then we should make a giant pillow pit and make a pool and other stuff in our bandspace, then we make 734 more floors and have a free everything-you-want vending machine and then get everything we want, then go on summer break. Then build a copy machine, copy the earth and destroy one earth with a giant laser beam. Then build a make stuff machine and copy it lots with the copy machine and make lots of stuff.

 

Orange Band members also finally decided on a table design and put in hard work making a true and solid table frame. A helpful hint: Triangles!

After voting on a design, Evan helped Orange Band plan out and prioritize the build

After voting on a design, Evan helped Orange Band plan out and prioritize the build

 

First things, first: the frame

First things, first: the frame

 

Building fun!

Building fun!

Kites are flying. Gever is flying. Teal is flying.

This week the Teal Band set out to build and fly a tetrahedral kite, and along the way, learn some math, read some books, watch the man who started their school “fly,” and do some writing to contribute to this blog.

We began the week with a math exploration on tetrahedrons and some history around kites as modes of transportation. Huxley did some research into tetrahedrons and found out that “a tetrahedron is a polygon with four triangular faces, four vertex corners, and six straight edges. Tetrahedrons are one one of the strongest shapes for many reasons, but the main reason is that any force applied to them gets evenly distributed throughout their structure. Alexander Graham Bell, one of the major contributors to the invention of the telephone and a famous kite scientist, was the inventor of the tetrahedral design we used (for our kite.) He said he dreamed of “flying machines of the future” and theorized that kites could be controlled enough to transport humans. Tetrahedrons are also found in nature, and is a common molecule formation.”

The Teal Band began learning about tetrahedrons by building them out of paper and solving a puzzle.

The Teal Band began learning about tetrahedrons by building them out of paper and solving a puzzle.

We explored a number of kite shapes.

We explored a number of kite shapes.

We ended up deciding to build a tetrahedral kite together as a band. It required the band to construct a series of tetrahedrons.  Patrick explained the process of building it: You can make one by making a tetrahedron out of straws  then you put a layer of tissue paper over 2 of the sides. Next you put 3 of those in a triangle, and then put the fourth on top so the corners are touching. Ta-da! One tetrahedral kite! You can take four of these bigger ones and build an even bigger tetrahedron and so on and on.

To make sure we would have enough tetrahedrons for our kite and enough straws and string to build them, we completed a number of calculations. We found we needed 64 tetrahedrons, made up of 384 straws and at least 3200 inches of string. The amazing part was that this didn’t phase the team of kite builders, instead it pushed the crew to work even harder.

We constructed 64 tetrahedrons out of straws and string.

We constructed 64 tetrahedrons out of straws and string.

Jared wrote that our kite looked “amazing”, but was “afraid it won’t fly because we didn’t tie the knots tight enough, and it will fall apart in the air. The other half of me thinks it will fly perfectly, and it will have no problem flying at all, because we already tested a piece of it in a “wind tunnel”. A wind tunnel is a huge tube with a fan at the bottom of it. We also have studied about kites, so that’s another reason why one part of me thinks that it will fly.”

Freddie shared that on Thursday morning, “we looked into fractions and angles. We started by reading a book called Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith to warm us up. We followed along and did the math questions along the way. After we finished the book we took out pattern blocks. We used them for fractions and learned about the angles. We played with them for a while because that’s just what Brightworks kids love to do. After we got a feel for them, we started to notice how they are just like fractions and some fit with others.” After creating proofs around the angles and the different relationships, they built kite designs using the pattern blocks and transferred them to paper. Taking what they had discovered about the fractional relationships, they added up the “total” of their designs, choosing one of the shapes to represent the “whole.”

It all started with the book Math Curse.

It all started with the book Math Curse.

Exploring angles and fractions in geometry with pattern blocks.

Exploring angles and fractions in geometry with pattern blocks.

Thursday afternoon led us on a journey that not many students can say they have had or will ever experience. The Teal Band, along with the Orange Band, went to Mussel Rock Park in Pacifica to watch Gever fly, a.k.a. paraglide. Selina connected strongly with this trip and shared that, “Mussel Rock is (as you might have guessed) a rock, that got pushed up from in between two tectonic plates, and is from far away. But we didn’t go to Mussel Rock to study geology, we went to watch Gever paraglide. When you paraglide, you sit in a padded harness with strings attached to a large wing above you. The wing is actually two pieces of cloth sewn together with little compartments. The front of the wing is open, trapping the air and making it possible to fly. It’s really amazing to watch someone fly just using the wind coming from the ocean, but you can’t fly in normal wind, you need it to hit a mountain or a cliff and move upwards. Someday (once I convince my parents to let me), I want to paraglide, too.”

It's pretty amazing to watch the man who started your school jump off a cliff and

It’s pretty amazing to watch the man who started your school jump off a cliff and “fly.”

Friday was the big day. It was the day we would find out if all our hard work had paid off. If Jared’s predictions were correct. We headed to Bernal Hill with the Red, Orange and Violet bands. Piper shared her excitement around the day and our kite. “It flew really well, but we hadn’t expected it to fly because right before we got it in the air it kept falling apart and it wasn’t easy to put it back together. It was hard to get all the tetrahedrons ready and tied together before we had to go. We took turns holding the string to help it soar. It was so much fun.”

Aurora became our master kite flyer, testing out multiple ways to keep it in the air. She found that giving the string a “tug” now and then helped get it back up into the air if it began falling. She successfully taught a number of others how to fly it and was a great cheerleader for everyone who tried.

Aurora, Piper and Selina patiently pieced the kite together and even let those from other bands fly it.

Aurora, Piper and Selina patiently pieced the kite together and even let those from other bands fly it.

This was a week of not only building a kite that actually flew or learning more about geometry and fractions, but it was a week that really focused on being a team. The Teal Band didn’t end up with seven separate kites. They ended up with one kite that was truly successful because all seven band members had worked together to build it.

“Up to the Highest Height”

I can’t believe it, but it was only the second week of school. The Red band has tackled a new school and learning between two different spaces. We continue to learn more about each other every day while we embark on our study of – The Movement of Things: By-Air. This week we began with a brainstorm session around important concepts to cover during this arc. Some ideas were: wings, wind, air, flying, soaring, and flapping.

Kite week taught us many lessons on the importance of stick-to-itiveness, problem-solving on the fly, and testing our theories.

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 Our week started with our vitamin on symmetry. After reading Let’s Fly a Kite: Symmetry by Stuart J. Murphy, the kids were charged with creating their own symmetrical kite out of pattern blocks. We continued to explore symmetry with some cardboard shapes and rubber bands and symmetrical painting in preparation for the week’s challenge of constructing a kite.

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The kids began by creating drawings of their kites on 8.5″ x 8.5″ paper, then scaled up to 3′ x 3′ butcher paper patterns. We used tape, Tyvek, wooden dowels, and polyethylene tubing to create our kites.

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Our final step was to venture to Bernal Heights hill and test our creations.

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And with some perseverance and observation we had many crashes, mends,  and one high-flier!

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Yellow Band: by Air, Week 2

Here are a handful of pictures, emphasizing our effort to weave math provocations into arc-based work.

This week, we learned some fun facts about our local airport: SFO. We started by making a list of places we'd like to fly to, with a twist. Each Yellow Bander needed to include 1 destination in California, 3 in the US outside of CA, and 2 destinations outside the US.

This week, we learned some fun facts about our local airport: SFO. We started by making a list of places we’d like to fly to, with a twist. Each Yellow Bander needed to include 1 destination in California, 3 in the US outside of CA, and 2 destinations outside the US. Then, we rolled the dice to figure out where we were headed, thinking about which type of place was most likely, and how we could change our outcome. Oh, and we started recording our work in our math journals!

We kept working on our space improvement projects, planter boxes and benches, in maxed band groups.

We kept working on our space improvement projects, planter boxes and benches, in maxed band groups.

We practiced playing some of the word games that will be choices during morning workshop times.

We practiced playing some of the word games that will be choices during morning workshop times.

We went to the library and checked out ALL OF THE BOOKS.

We went to the library and checked out ALL OF THE BOOKS.

We discovered these cool videos all about SFO, and learned that 60 planes/hour can land at our local airport. Then, we thought about how we could figure out how many planes could land there in one day, and used base ten blocks to model.

We discovered these cool videos all about SFO, and learned that 60 planes/hour can land at our local airport. Then, we thought about how we could figure out how many planes could land there in one day, and used base ten blocks to model.

We practiced some continuous like drawing, pretending our pens were stuck to the page as we drew items from around our bandspace. It was challenging because it's so different from how we normally draw or write!

We practiced some continuous like drawing, pretending our pens were stuck to the page as we drew items from around our bandspace. It was challenging because it’s so different from how we normally draw or write!

We took breaks, sometimes in very aesthetically pleasing ways.

We took breaks, sometimes in very aesthetically pleasing ways.

Have a great weekend, and see y’all on Monday!

Amber Band takes flight!

Last week was our first week as the Amber Band, and so we took time to get to know one another a bit better. We wrote our group agreement, completed design challenges, and played TASK. Each of us set personal, academic, and social goals for the year.

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Playing TASK! Rhone was tasked with turning our chairs into a train.

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Amber Band + Indigo Band had a great conversation on some group goals and agreements for the year.

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We made mini zines about our goals for the year.

We’ll be working with Indigo Band for the first Arc to help us build a bigger community. Phillip and I want to make sure the kids get a chance to build friendships outside of their band, while still making sure that kids get solid community building time within their smaller bands as well. Ambigo, as our Amber and Indigo combo is commonly referred to, have been working through creative constraints in various teams while learning the importance of communication and collaboration. Kids worked in pairs to create a parachute in the wind tunnel that Gever built. Then they worked in triads to tinker with cardboard sculptures.

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Tinkering with cardboard and working on some building skills.

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Prototyping parachutes for the wind tunnel.

 

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Tinkering with cardboard!

This week it’s all about kites! Kite Week will be an opportunity for a majority of the bands at BWX to explore the movement of kites by air. We’ll be learning about the history of kites, geometry of kites, making kites from scratch, reading Dragonwings together, going to SFMOMA to learn about how the Jet and Space Age affected art and culture, visiting a kite store in Chinatown, and flying kites together as a school on Bernal Hill. So much to do this week, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the wind takes us!

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Amber Band setting personal, academic, and social goals for the year.

 

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First Amber Band outing of the year! We visited a coffee shop to make close observations of how people work in the space to get inspiration for our band space. Looking forward to many more adventures this year!

Orange Band’s Bright Horizons

Orange Band getting cozy in the band space from Day One!

Orange Band getting cozy in the band space from Day One!

In this first week, Orange Band spent a lot of time exploring and defining the community that we will create and foster throughout this year. We welcomed the new year (and four brand new families to Brightworks) by taking stock of our band space (more on that in a bit) and introducing all of the facets that make up each of the individuals in our Band! Our first day together found kiddos sharing about themselves – creating personal timelines and histories, and interrogating how we are perceived, as compared to how we perceive ourselves. This activity followed a discussion about intersectionality and the many identity markers that make up who we are–in our families and in our communities.

Roman works on his perception of what people *think* we do vs what we *really* do - Identity as a meme!

Roman works on his perception of what people *think* we do vs what we *really* do – Identity as a meme!

Our first day together also brought on our first group work challenge–the Marshmallow Challenge, to be precise! After watching Angela Lee Duckworth’s TEDTalk on Perseverance, Orange Band put their grit, and communication skills, to the test!

Lucy discusses how to support their marshmallow best with just 20 sticks of dried spaghetti, string, and tape.

Lucy discusses how to support their marshmallow best with just 20 sticks of dried spaghetti, string, and tape.

After observing the group work, Justin suggests tethering the tower of spaghetti once it is anchored.

After observing the group work, Justin suggests tethering the tower of spaghetti once it is anchored to improve balance.

The two teams worked furiously and the highest structure beat out the other tower by less than an inch!

Too delicious to resist! Charlotte ready to take a bite out of her group's work!

Too delicious to resist! Charlotte ready to take a bite out of her group’s work!

The characteristics of grit and perseverance came into play later in the week, when Orange Band members tried their hand at our first math provocation, or “vitamin”: a math situation that students work through using a Build It, Draw It, Solve It process. Whether the tasks themselves (to build, draw, or solve) are more or less successful is less important than the struggle students engage in trying to make sense of the math–as well as the understandings that come out of that struggle!

Lucy works on using the Build It, Draw It, Solve It process

Lucy works on using the Build It, Draw It, Solve It process.

 

How we build the same object can be vastly different!

How we build the same object can be vastly different!

In thinking about how such diverse and unique learners will share space and time together, we focused on two aspects that we were lacking so far: Band Agreements and a Communal Table.

Throughout the week, our Working Band Agreements were tweaked and added to, as we built from the experiences of the week. By the end of the week, the Orange Band felt *pretty* solid about the band agreements–but reserve the right to keep on tweaking as the weeks progress! So far, Orange Band has decided on the following:

  • Listen to each other with respect and attention
  • Learn from mistakes and failures (or try to!)
  • Band members ask each other for help and clarification
  • Band members check in with each to see if they need help or clarification
  • Respect other people’s ideas and belongings – use appreciations, not put downs (including ourselves!)
  • Respect the band space and Brightworks
First iterations of Orange Band's Communal Table

Amiya sketches his first possible design for Orange Band’s Communal Table.

Second on Orange Band’s plate was to design and be ready to build a communal table. This structure will be an integral part of our band space, and Orange Banders were chock full of ideas of what it could look like. Students presented individual ideas and sketches for the table, and later in the week partnered up with another band member to create a second iteration cradboard prototype. The need to compromise, take into consideration constraints, and weigh viability were all on the proverbial “table” (pun intended!!).

Orange Band's ideas for how to create a communal working space.

Orange Band’s ideas for how to create a communal working space.

 

Evan discusses the mathematical constraints of Jeevan's magnetic table design: a large table held in place by large magnets --such a cool idea!

Evan discusses the mathematical constraints of Jeevan’s magnetic table design: a large table held in place by large magnets –such a cool idea!

 

Phoebe: Prototyping cardboard drawers is HARD!

Phoebe: Prototyping cardboard drawers is HARD!

 

Lucy carefully measures a 1:12 scale down of her design.

Nora carefully measures a 1:12 scale down of her design to prototype.

 

Long discussions and compromise lead to action! Charlotte and Justin hunker down and get to work

Long discussions and compromise lead to action! Charlotte and Justin hunker down and get to work.

 

Lucy digs into model making

Lucy digs into model making.

And, lest we forget, we also began to explore the theme of this first arc: the Movement of Things, By-Air!

Gever demonstrates The Arc to Orange and Teal Bands.

Gever demonstrates the Arc to Orange and Teal Bands.

Inspired by Wednesday’s Morning Circle wind tunnel demos, messages zinging through space to and from other bands (by air), and the scent of popcorn (in the air) courtesy of the Teal Band, the Orange Band took a trip to a place of lofty heights and LOTS of opportunities to see the movement of things by air: Bernal Heights Park!

From slow-moving fog engulfing the slopes of San Francisco, to birds in flight, leaves, and the trees, themselves, we were surrounded by all things moved by air. Our trip came on only the fourth day together, but the previous three days of community building, friendship forging, and, yes, struggles, combined for a band that traveled together that Friday like one that had been together for eons.

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Heading up to the best vantage point for next week’s kite explorations.

Roman and Jeevan survey the city below.

Roman and Jeevan survey the city below.

A sure-footed Nora paves the way down the hills

A sure-footed Nora paves the way down the hills.

Just one of the spectacular views that took our breath away on the trip!

Just one of the spectacular views that took our breath away on the trip!

Whew! What a week it has been! So much to celebrate, and less than five days in. The mind reels at what this group will tackle next week!

Happy New [School] Year

Hi Everyone,

If we’ve not yet met I am Nicole, the Red Band Collaborator. This year we can be found up the block at 1920 Bryant with Nathan, Piper, and the Yellow Band. We are all thrilled to work in this new space together and continue to build it out with the two bands.

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This was an exciting week as we explored and settled into the space. We brainstormed goals for ourselves for the year, both personal and shared, to help create our group agreements. We read Ish by Peter H. Reynolds to help frame our thinking around the people we would like to be and how our actions affect others. Our week was filled with activities to get to know one another, such as our people scavenger hunt and people mapping.

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We learned about and have practiced the daily routine together, including morning circle and lunch spent up at 1960 Bryant. This included learning about morning “vitamins”, multi-disciplinary skills work that allows each kid to work through a problem on their own then share out their process during a group discussion. Our afternoons will be largely dedicated to arc and project work with the kids choosing between two different project offerings. Our first projects are aimed to improve our bandspace entryway. I am helping a crew create outdoor seating while Nathan is working on garden beds.

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We ended our week with a round of show and tell. My favorite part of this activity is learning about the things that are important to each kid and let me tell you, it was a wide range: from home gardens to family heirlooms to hopes and dreams of owning a pet.

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It was a jam-packed week and I can’t wait to see what week two brings. If you would like to follow along find me at @bwx_nicole on Instagram and on Flickr at SFBrightworks.

Have a lovely weekend,

Nicole